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De Havilland to build airplane manufacturing plant east of Calgary, Kenney says

Premier Jason Kenney said it is a 'very major sign of the economic growth job opportunities and diversification happening' in Alberta. (CBC - image credit)
Premier Jason Kenney said it is a 'very major sign of the economic growth job opportunities and diversification happening' in Alberta. (CBC - image credit)

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada plans to build an airplane manufacturing plant east of Calgary, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Wednesday morning.

Kenney was speaking at a Toronto news conference as part of a provincial campaign to draw skilled workers to Alberta when he made the announcement.

Three lines of aircraft will be produced at the facility, Kenney said, and it is hoped that will eventually be upped to four.

"[It] will help to employ 1,500 high-paying manufacturing workers in a game-changing investment for manufacturing in Alberta," he said.

CBC
CBC

"Some of the work that has historically been done here in Toronto at Downsview will be relocated to Calgary, since Downsview has been repurposed with land development."

'It's pivotal for Wheatland County'

The company says the facility, dubbed De Havilland Field, is to be located in Wheatland County between the communities of Chestermere and Strathmore.

De Havilland says it has acquired about 600 hectares of land in the area. It says construction could begin as early as next year, with its first buildings operational by 2025 — though the project's full build-out could take years.

"De Havilland Field, like Rome — I have to warn you — won't be built in a day. We anticipate the full build-out will take somewhere between 10 and 15 years," said company co-owner Sherry Brydson. "We're planning to take it slowly and seriously, and we're going to make sure it works."

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Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link told CBC News that the new facility will be constructed just west of the Town of Strathmore.

"It's a complex development. They have everything from production facilities, to a museum, to potential education facilities," Link said.

"It's pivotal for Wheatland County. The diversification of our economy and that job creation is hugely significant in our region."

With a population just under 9,000, the potential job creation associated with the project is "monumental," she said.

"We do anticipate that residents from our local area will be seeking those jobs and, you know, seeking training opportunities and education," Link said.

"But I also anticipate that we're going to see this hub draw employment from all across Canada, and likely internationally as well."