Answers still sought on CS Wind

Wind turbines. (Blackburn Media file photo.)

The sight of Windsor’s idle CS Wind plant continues to produce more questions than answers.

There has been no visible activity at the Anchor Drive plant for at least a week, with hundreds of employees laid off. It is not clear, however, why they are off. The South Korean-based company, which produces wind turbines, has been tight-lipped over whether the plant has completely closed or if an extended layoff is taking place.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has confirmed that the plant is in a “state of shutdown”, but there is still no word on whether the shutdown is temporary or permanent.

The City of Windsor, which offered the company millions of dollars in incentives to set up shop in the city, is among those trying to get answers.  However, city officials have not made much headway.

Mayor Drew Dilkens told on Thursday morning that the city has been in contact with company personnel, but they have not disclosed much information about the future of the plant. The mayor said while the city has no place discussing CS Wind’s business operations, he does have a theory as to what may have led to the plant being idled at this time.

“I think anyone who has a reasonable mind would say that when Kathleen Wynne’s government started scrapping any future contracts for wind or solar, that that was a sign that things were going to be difficult for CS Wind,” said Dilkens.

The previous Liberal government, under Wynne, began cancelling wind contracts two years ago. However, the current PC-majority at Queen’s Park cancelled 758 renewable energy contracts soon after taking power last summer, fulfilling a campaign promise to curb excessive spending.

CS Wind unionized in 2016, but workers found themselves off the job periodically, including a six-week idling in July of that year due to what was called a “gap between production orders”.

At its peak, the Windsor facility employed 460 workers.

However, a representative of Iron Workers Local 721 told in March 2018 that the company assured them that the plant was not closing.

Nevertheless, Dilkens acknowledged that the company may still have a bumpy road ahead.

“They’re working very hard to try to make things work,” said Dilkens. “But it’s not an easy task, and when the major driver that brought them here in the first place has now been taken away, it makes the situation very difficult.”

Blackburn News has repeatedly reached out to CS Wind and the ironworkers union to determine the status of the plant but neither has returned messages asking for comment.