2020-01-29

No announcement from Michelin despite speculation about Bridgewater expansion

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>File photo</p><p>The Michelin plant in Bridgewater.</p>

Tire giant Michelin says there's nothing to share about any planned new growth at Bridgewater's Logan Road plant or the adding of up to 200 more jobs at the site despite a report from The Macdonald Notebook suggesting unnamed sources are aware of a proposed expansion.

Nicolle Vuotto, a spokeswoman for Michelin North America (Canada), told LighthouseNOW the corporation is "aware that there has been some speculation, but we don't have anything to announce."

What's arguably fuelling the talk of an expansion in the offing is September's announcement by the province of a new Highway 103 interchange slated for the area of the town's business park which Michelin has called home since June 1971.

Also helping feed the rumours are the responses from the province's lawmakers.

Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines is quoted in December 2019 in a Halifax daily newspaper as being unaware of a new interchange, slated for completion in 2022, being associated with any Michelin growth.

"Roads and highways and bridges are economic generators, that we know for sure ... any time we can provide a piece of infrastructure that will assist that ...," he told the paper at the time.

LighthouseNOW twice asked Premier Stephen McNeil in September 2019, after a news conference announcing the highway project, if he had knowledge of a Michelin expansion in the offing. Twice, he didn't answer the question.

"Michelin is a tremendous partner for us in this community and across the province and we wanted to make sure they know, as they're making their global decisions, that Nova Scotia is open for business and this announcement today makes this community open for business."

The Bridgewater site, the town's largest private sector employer (about 1,200 workers), produces tires for various types of vehicles, in addition to steel cord products.

The last major expansions at the Bridgewater plant took place in 2006 and 2007. A $50 million expansion in 2007 was expected to create up to 48 jobs. Provincial taxpayers contributed $6 million of the overall figure. In 2006, the province put $4.38 million into Michelin's $36 million expansion.

The province has a master agreement with Michelin North America, which committed the province to pay the corporation up to 12 per cent of capital costs associated with expansions of any of its three factories in Nova Scotia. That deal was signed in 2004.

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