Southern Bruce natural gas expansion confirmed

About 12,000 residences, farms and businesses in the southern portion of Bruce County will be able to hook into natural gas in a few years.

Under the new Natural Gas Expansion Support Program, the EPCOR Southern Bruce Project will be eligible for up to $27.7 million in funding under a sustainable long-term expansion program.

The EPCOR SB project will bring natural gas to the region including the communities of Chesley, Paisley, Inverhuron, Tiverton, Kincardine, Lurgan Beach, Point Clark, Ripley and Lucknow, as well as the Bruce Energy Centre.

The EPCOR project will be one of the first to access new funds available under the program and is a priority moving forward with a target start date of summer 2019.

The project will take two to three years.

Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker made the announcement on Tuesday in Kincardine, along with Kincardine Mayor Anne Eadie, Bruce County Warden and Huron-Kinloss Mayor Mitch Twolan, and Arran-Elderslie Mayor Steve Hammell.

“This is an important announcement for the region,” Thompson said. “Local residents, farmers, and businesses deserve to have access to affordable natural gas to heat their homes, barns, and facilities. Our government is committed to making life more affordable for Ontario’s hard-working families.”

“Expanding access to natural gas will help lower energy costs and make our community more attractive for new jobs and businesses,” said Walker. “Families can expect significant savings under this plan. An average residential customer can save between $800 to $2,500 every year when they switch to natural gas from propane, electric heating or oil.”

“This is fantastic news for our Southern Bruce municipalities! Our local MPPs and Ministers Lisa Thompson and Bill Walker have been very supportive of our Southern Bruce initiative. Our quest to bring Natural Gas to our area has been a long process so we are very excited that EPCOR will finally be able to get shovels in the ground in 2019. Access to Natural Gas will be such a cost savings benefit to many residents and businesses in the area. This will also help us attract new businesses and workers that we need to support our economic growth.” Mayor Eadie

Susannah Robinson, EPCOR’s Ontario vice president, welcomed the announcement.

“This is great news for businesses, farms and families in rural Ontario who will now have access to safe, reliable and affordable natural gas. Today’s announcement opens the door to an exciting new chapter for these communities, and EPCOR looks forward to being a part of it,” she said.

“For families in rural Ontario, the savings are significant,” said Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton. “Lowering energy costs will help make life more affordable for people who need it.”

“The Natural Gas Expansion Support Program will help businesses in rural and Northern Ontario, including First Nations, cut energy costs, improve their competitiveness and attract more investment,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “It will also help expand the natural gas distribution network to households, making life more affordable for families.”