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Volkswagen plant in St. Thomas: Valuable farmland at risk, says FAO

We have to keep our farmland because we lose 319 acres every day in Ontario. At this rate, we will not have any farms in a hundred years for our agricultural products.Vice President regrets CamAnd Crispin Colvin.

Farmer Crispin Colvin owns 200 acres of land in the London area, Ontario.

Photo: Radio-Canada/Anne Marie Tricky

Mr. Colvin, a farmer himself, owns 200 acres of land in London It grows mainly corn and soybeans.

We need to preserve our agricultural lands to feed ourselves and the world. »

Quote from Crispin Colvin, Vice President, Confederation of Agriculture of Ontario

It is very important to be able to feed ourselves, especially since our population [ontarienne] It is growing, as is the world’s populationHe said.

Garage in front of agricultural land.

Crispin Colvin’s farm is located near London, Ontario. Mainly soybeans and corn are grown.

Photo: Radio-Canada/Anne Marie Tricky

according to Crispin ColvinVolkswagen’s new factory, announced in March, contributes to the loss of farmland.

And this is not just territory.

It’s disappointing that this kind of development is happening in southwestern Ontario, simply because that’s where the best farmland is. »

Quote from Crispin Colvin, Vice President, Confederation of Agriculture of Ontario

We put this plant on our best farmland in the county. Our soils are well graded for Ontario, and the best soils are in the southwesthe adds.

According to the auto giant, the plant, which spans 370 acres, will account for 210 football fields.

The complete industrial park will cover an area of ​​1,500 acres. The farmer points out that more farmland should disappear because of the infrastructure that will follow the construction of the factory.


According to Crispin Colvin, land is a non-renewable resource that must be conserved and preserved to ensure food self-sufficiency in Ontario.

Photo: Radio-Canada/Anne Marie Tricky

It’s not just the factory, but everything to come. We’ll have to build highways, homes and businesses. Another 2,000 acres are at risk of disappearingFind Crispin Colvin.

This plant is certainly a great achievement for the province in economic terms.He said. But from an agricultural perspective, such industrial developments reduce our ability to be self-sufficient and produce the food our people need.

Strategic location

option St. Thomas The new plant is well thought out, according to the president of the Association of Auto Parts Manufacturers Flavio Volpe.

Flavio Volpi.

Flavio Volpe, President of the Association of Auto Parts Manufacturers.

Photo: Radio Canada/Laura McNaughton

This is the best place for the plant. It is strategically located allowing easy access to transportation products to factories elsewhere in Ontario and North America.he explains.

Mr. Volpe also says there is a strong manufacturing culture in St. Thomas, as the city was once home to a car factory: the Ford plant, which closed in 2009.

This project is of great importance for future generations in this region. »

Quote from Flavio Volpe, President of the Association of Auto Parts Manufacturers

St. ThomasIt’s a car city. Yes, the plant will cost farmland and I’m not excluding that, but when we see the benefits for that particular piece of land, in that city, there’s no doubt that it’s positive.says Flavio Volpi.

The Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Vic Fedele, also confirms this St. Thomas One of the best locations for this factory, as the land is large and flat and close to the necessary services.


The entire industrial area on the site is 1,500 acres, but more agricultural land will have to disappear due to the infrastructure that will follow the construction of the plant.

Photo: Radio-Canada/Anne Marie Tricky

Crispin Colvin She understands the economic importance of owning a Volkswagen plant in Ontario. However, the farmer would have liked Volkswagen and the various governments to install it elsewhere in the county, such as in the east or in the north, where farmland is not as valuable.

economic benefits for the region

Above all, the plant represents significant economic benefits St. Thomas And about the southwest region, Minister Fedeli said.

Vic Fedeli, in front of the podium, presents the Ford government's first budget.

Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. (file photo)

Photo: Radio-Canada/Pierre-Olivier Bernatchez

The Volkswagen plant will create 3,000 direct jobs at Volkswagen in addition to 30,000 indirect jobs in the same sector, thanks to other companies that will be established in the region.He says.

Every square centimeter of this land will be used to create jobs. It is very important. »

Quote from Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

The federal government plans to invest $13 billion for the Volkswagen plant, while a $500 million investment will come from the provincial government.

For his part, Crispin Colvin from Cam He commends these investments to the automotive sector, but would like to see more investment to ensure the sustainability of Ontario’s agricultural sector.

If we take a small part of the investment for the battery factory and put it in the agricultural sector, to help small farmers get started in the field, I’m sure it would pay doubleHe said. More than anything else, it will help us protect our lands.

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