Natural resources minister to visit Sarnia, mayor says

Natural resources minister to visit Sarnia mayor says

When Canada’s natural resources minister visits on Monday, the plan is to demonstrate the Sarnia area is worthy of federal funds planned to help industries like oil and gas transition to green energy, the city’s mayor says.

“We’ve got one of the most successful research parks in North America here,” said Mike Bradley, referring to the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.

Other feathers in the area’s cap, he added, include being the headquarters for Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, a hydrogen hubhosting a solar farm that was once the largest in the world, and being home to the largest ethanol plant in Canada, Suncor’s in St. Clair Township.

“We’ve been doing all the things,” Bradley said during an annual address to the Seaway Kiwanis Club of Sarnia.

Industries are interested in adapting, he said, but noted there’s going to continue to be a need for fossil fuels.

Still, “it’s a rapidly changing world and I want us leading it,” he said.

Bradley said federal minister Jonathan Wilkinson recently accepted his invitation to tour the research park.

Details were still being worked out, he said Wednesday.

“I’m trying to bring in some people to engage with him that understand what we’re trying to do on sustainability,” he said, adding “we’re finally getting the federal government’s attention.”

In a previous conversation with Wilkinson about a year ago, the natural resources minister talked about things happening in Alberta with hydrogen, Bradley told the service club.

“I said ‘Mr. Minister, you’ve got to come here. We’re a hydrogen hub,’” Bradley said.

Some companies are also planning to shrink their lab space at the research park soon since more people are working from home, Bradley said.

While the park was currently at capacity for lab space, “we now can produce and create more lab space,” Bradley said. “It’ll take some money to start it up, but the payback is pretty quick.”

Bradley said there are people in the community who want to fight a transition from fossil fuels to green energy, but “the climate change ship has sailed.”

“We need to embrace the change and make it work in our favor,” the mayor said.

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