Ontario’s Welland Canal getting $45 million overhaul

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by Emily Atkins

A $45.3 million rehabilitation project will reconstruct wharves along the Welland Canal in Port Colborne, Ontario.

The canal allows freighters and other vessels to travel between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, bypassing the Niagara River and Niagara Falls. Port Colborne is on Lake Erie, on the south end of the canal.

The federal government is providing up to $22.7 million under the National Trade Corridors Fund. It will support the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of three wharves located in Port Colborne, Ontario.

The project aims to revive these wharves, which are currently out-of-service, to support operations and increase capacity of the trade corridor. The wharves, 18-1, 18-2 and 18-3, are on the west side of the canal. They have been unused for more than 10 years due to decaying walls.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation president and CEO Terence Bowles said the refurbishment will  increase freight handling by a million tonnes per year and create new marine shipping opportunities for Canadian exporters. The renovation will also open up a cruise ship dock.

The funding announcement was made on January 11, by transport minister Omar Alghabra.

“Investing in the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure to improve the quality and the efficiency of our supply chains is crucial to Canada’s economic success and sustainable development,” Alghabra said.

“Our government’s investment in the Niagara region will help ensure that the supply chains here in Ontario and throughout our country remain efficient and reliable for future generations.”

Local MP, Vance Badawey said the development will be “a game changer for Niagara”. He said new business opportunities are being created on once-abandoned lands along the Welland Canal, and strengthening the Niagara Ports Trade Corridor.

The National Trade Corridors Fund will have spent over $4.7 billion over 11 years between 2017-2028 on upgrading infrastructure.