St. Clair in the running for EV battery plant


MP pushing feds for funding for waste water treatment expansion to keep the township in the mix

Heather Wright/The Independent

Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu says St. Clair Township is in the running for an electric vehicle battery plant.

She says in order to “stay in the game” for the $3 billion investment, the township needs federal and provincial help to expand their wastewater treatment plant in Courtright.

St. Clair Township has begun an Environmental Assessment on the plant after learning the distiller, Diagio, will be building its new $245 million carbon neutral Crown Royal Plant, and would use up much of the capacity at the plant.

St. Clair Township Mayor Jeff Agar says the wastewater treatment plant can handle the new distiller and the current housing plans, however if another large plant were to locate in St. Clair, the wastewater treatment facility will need to be expanded.

While Agar downplays the possibility of the EV battery plant, Gladu says St. Clair is very much in the running but the capacity problem at the treatment plant is a hurdle.

“In order to be even considered for this new $3 billion plant, they have to get an upgrade,” says the MP adding that will cost millions. Agar says there isn’t a firm number yet, but it could be between $45 and $60 million, depending on the size.

“The municipality is willing to kick something in, but I mean, that’s a huge price tag. So I approached the Minister of Infrastructure and the Minister of Innovation who did the previous battery plants contracts with Volkswagen, to say, ‘Hey, guys, you know, for less than $30 billion – for the low, low price of $25 million, we can get on the shortlist to potentially get a $3 billion plan that will create a lot of jobs.”

Gladu says the minister is receptive to the move and all that would be required is a letter of intent.
She’ll be watching closely when the Liberals unveil the budget April 16 hoping for a program which the treatment plant could fall under.

“ I think the Liberals have been pushing out money in all directions. And I’m sure if they bring a budget of $47 billion dollars, that even a portion of 25 million is a small price to pay for what would be great economic benefits.”

Agar agrees. “It’s only going to help all of Lambton County, Ontario and Canada.”