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Thorold gets wind turbine manufacturer

A Chinese company plans to produce parts for wind turbines inside a former auto parts factory in nearby Thorold, Ont.

TSP Canada Towers Inc. plans to make towers for the turbines. It is making an initial investment of $25 million (Canadian) and has acquired a 209-acre property.

TSP Canada Towers is a subsidiary of Shanghai Taisheng Wind Power Equipment Co. Ltd. The plant is expected to create 150 jobs within the first year, and an additional 100 jobs in a second phase.

"It was an enormous win for us, with the jobs and the [economic] spinoff that will come," said Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani. The project also gives Thorold and the Niagara Region another link to the renewable energy industry, he said, and additional, related business could be coming to the Thorold site.

How was Thorold, which is south of St. Catharines, chosen for such a project?

"They did their homework and their research," Luciani said of the company.

The site has rail access, is near a highway, and is next to the Welland Canal. The company long term would like to build a docking station on the canal, which will require approval from the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

The new operation will revive a large vacant manufacturing complex. Dana Corp. shut down the location more than five years ago. The spacious facility has high ceilings that appeal to a manufacturer like TSP Canada Towers, Luciani said.

Chris Xie, TSP Canada Towers' chief executive officer, said the region's available workforce was another reason the company chose Thorold. Production is expected to start later this year, he said.?