Mayor and city staff stay mum on possible Abbotsford aerospace plant

Economic development staff have met with a U.S. firm looking for places to build a large plant

Abbotsford’s mayor and economic development staff stayed mum Tuesday about an aerospace company that has been eyeing the city as a potential home for a massive new manufacturing plant that could generate thousands of new jobs.

An item in a committee agenda revealed last week that a U.S. company is looking at Abbotsford as a possible site for a manufacturing plant. The item said two options are on the table – one a $125 million investment involving 7,000 new jobs, the other a $830 million investment that could employ more than 10,000. It’s unclear how permanent most of those jobs would be.

The item said economic development staff had “engaged with” the company and said the “next round of engagement is due to occur in January 2020.” The item was part of a report set for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting of the city’s business, innovation, growth and attraction (BIGA) committee.

But economic development staff did not mention the item at Tuesday’s meeting. After the meeting, The News asked Mayor Henry Braun if he could disclose anymore information about the potential for a plant.

“No,” he said.

A plant employing 10,000 workers would instantly become one of the largest single employment sites in the province. Construction on the massive Site C dam in Northern B.C. employs 5,000 workers.

No details about the purpose of the work have been released, BUT the federal government sets the groundrules for the competition that will result in the awarding of a $19 billion contract to replace the country’s CF-18 fighter jets. Three companies are expected to bid on the jets, including U.S.-based Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Such contracts have typically required that the successful bidder promise to invest some of their money in Canada.

RELATED: U.S. firm eyes Abbotsford for potential aerospace plant that could employ 10,000 workers

RELATED: Massive aerospace plant far from certain, but would reshape Abbotsford

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