This one hurts.

A Canadian company plans to build an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Plattsburgh International Airport that is expected to employ up to 760 people.Gov. George Pataki was in Plattsburgh Monday to announce that Laurentian Aerospace Corp. plans to build a 262,000-square-foot, two-bay hangar complex, at a cost of $50 million, on the ramp at the airport. It is expected the facility would attract support industries and companies creating at least that many additional jobs. Laurentian Aerospace President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Gorbeil said the facility will be used for maintenance checks required every 15 months and others required every four years. They cost $500,000 and $1.5 million, respectively.

Gobeil has been the chairman of Export Development Canada’s Board of Directors since January 2002. He was a Liberal member of the Canadian National Assembly for the riding of Verdun from 1985 to 1989, including time as a cabinet minister.

I know our guys were trying to get some MRO jobs attracted here to Moncton. The NBCC/CCNB has been graduating qualified maintenance and repair technicians for decades and the majority of them have left to work in Montreal, Toronto and beyond.

These facilities do not have to be located on the ‘beaten track’.

I get a little weary every time I see Bombardier make another multi-million dollar investment in the US – and nada (oops, very little) in Atlantic Canada. This guy, Gobeil, chairman of EDC. Former politician.

Is Plattsburgh, New York that much better than Moncton? Or Saint John? Cripes, I say give them the SJ airport if they will create 760 aerospace jobs (and a similar amount out in the community as spinoffs).

For me that’s a great idea. Keep some commuter traffic from the SJ airport to Toronto maybe Boston – but give the rest of it to one of these large MRO operations.

Probably not going to happen. Our guys have no interest in attracting aerospace jobs – it would seem from the cough cough results – and Quebec’s aerospace industry is more interested in investing in the US (unless it’s Canadian government work that requires Canadian content).

Who’s the bonehead back in the 1970s that decided to stop industrial development in Atlantic Canada in favour of ‘small business’ development?

Look where that’s gotten us.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If you want a little more pain, that name “laurentian aerospace” brought back some memories. Namely, remember the post on R&D funding from the ‘Technology Parnership Fund’, well, guess who’s name was on it!

    Yes, it’s now official, we’re as bad as the americans. Canadian taxpayers are now paying for companies to move elsewhere! Still think the government is on your side?

  2. David Campbell says:

    Now that is depressing….

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does this have anything to do with competing for defense contracts? I know that if you have a significant pressence in the US, you are most likely to receive a defense contract.

    The other thing is like David said, they have a facilty that is ready for them to use. If we are serious about Aerospace, start investing.

    It’s like the old saying: “You have to spend money to make money!”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s pretty clear, but of course there’s the old bugaboo-“deficit spending…boo!” Of course every country and region of the world except Canada’s feds are in deficit spending, except, of course, Alberta.

    However, politically its a tough sell to employed voters. Flashbacks of ‘pallet producers’ in Woodstock and all. It does seem odd that one investment wouldn’t cheese off taxpayers, and that’s investment in education. People have kids, they want them educated and don’t want to be in debt for it. Yet NB has the highest tuition in Canada for what are arguably,the worst institutions.

    Keep in mind there was a tradeoff, Oromocto is busting at the seams thanks to closing down PEI’s bases. They got aerospace to make up for it, Oromocto got more federal dollars via the military.

    One thing rarely discussed is that many military jobs are fairly high tech, you’d think those getting out of the military would maybe start some kinds of initiatives but that’s something I’ve never heard anything about.

    Keep in mind also that virtually every region of NB now has a business park-thats investment. Question is, anybody have any idea how full or empty they are?

  5. Mary Ann Castine says:

    We, here in Plattsburgh, are most grateful for the partnership opportunity Laurentian Aerospace provides. WHen the US Air Force abandondened the flightline here there was a tremendous economic impact and a mighty waste of a first class runway – the third longest in the United States at 12,000 feet and with 12 million square feet of poured concrete ramp space. SUrely, the close proximity of this air cargo facility to the Port of mOntreal will offer a global logistics hub that will be beneficial to both Canada and the US? We like to think of ourselves as Montreal’s suburb – a backyard community to the glorious, historic city – with tons of room to grow and to provide a strategic distribution advantage to the high-tech movement in QUebec – offering incentives and advantages to help our neighbors to the North grow their enterprises. Surely, the more we have to offer as a region -the more attention we will garner internationally. Take a look at what the build out of the Port in ROtterdam has done for the European markets – every global player must have a presence there…