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Durham looks to attract Amazon mega facility

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

With e-commerce giant Amazon seeking a location to build a secondary headquarters in North America, Oshawa Mayor John Henry believes the city has several assets to put it at the top of the list.
The American-based company, worth more than $100 billion, recently announced plans to build a $5 billion, 50,000-employee complex, sending cities across the continent into a scramble to put together proposals.

Regional chair and CEO Roger Anderson confirmed the region would be working with a number of its lower-tier municipalities to submit bids as part of a larger partnership with Toronto Global, an agency funded by all three levels of government that aims to draw foreign investors and businesses into the Greater Toronto Area.

This joint bid also includes the cities of Toronto, Brampton and Mississauga and the regions of York and Halton.

While the mayor believes it would “amazing if anywhere in Durham” was selected, he’d obviously prefer the community he represents.

The Oshawa Executive Airport and the Port of Oshawa are two key resources that the city has to boast, Henry states.

“Shipment of products in large containers is not a challenge for us,” Henry says.

He also pointed to Oshawa’s “great rail service and road infrastructure” as advantages.

Lastly, Oshawa is closer to both Montreal and the Maritimes than any other urban centre in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, which would potentially cut down transportation time and costs for the company.

With institutions such as Durham College, UOIT and Trent University just around the corner, Henry says Amazon would not have to look far for young professionals to hire as well.

“We are very excited about this opportunity and ready, willing and able.”

The federal and provincial governments are expected to offer subsidies to Amazon should it choose a Canadian location.

At a recent council meeting, Anderson says he expects these subsidies to be equal for all municipalities, meaning Durham should receive the same level as Toronto or Halifax, for example.

The bid process will remain open until mid-October with a final site selection and announcement expected sometime in 2018.