While it seems as though the economic development team in Timmins, Ontario, may have jumped the gun in its excitement to announce the project, the other four major Northern Ontario cities, including North Bay, are said to be on board.

This from Ross MacDonald, a business development specialist with the Timmins Economic Development Corporation. He said it is unlikely military ships or helicopters will be built in Northern Ontario any time soon but that doesn’t mean the region cannot supply components for them.

The five major northern cities are working together to get fabrication businesses that supply mining and forestry in on also supplying the defence sector. Representatives from North Bay say they are on board and in the early stages of examining its working parts.

The City of North Bay’s Economic Development Department is “excited to be developing this initiative in concert with our ONEDC partner cities to support the diversification and growth of Northern Ontario firms and we will be sharing information about how companies can get involved as it becomes available.”

MacDonald said these companies probably don’t realize the potential.

“So there could be opportunities for companies that maybe fabricate specialized products for the mining sector, forestry sector to modify their processes to supply these smaller components and services to go into the larger project.”

The government-funded effort will last for three years.  MacDonald says that using northern products will help outfits that are primarily defence contractors fulfill their requirement for Canadian content.

“The opportunities might not be readily obvious, but I do think that there’s a lot of expertise in our region that our companies provide the mining sector.  Those kinds of same requirements can easily be transferable to the defence sector.”

With files from Bob McIntyre, MyTimminsNow.com