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Hamilton demolition company to buy shuttered Thunder Bay power plant

Budget Demolition looks to hire skilled local labour
Thunder Bay Generating Station 5
(OPG supplied photo)

The decommissioned Thunder Bay Generating Station site has been sold to a Hamilton demolition company.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced April 21 it has accepted an offer from Budget Demolition to purchase the former coal and wood-pellet burning power station on the city's waterfront.

The transfer of the property is now official. The sale of the property was not disclosed by OPG

An OPG spokesperson replied the sale of its assets follows a confidential process. 

"OPG and its broker, Cushman & Wakefield, compared all bids with fairness and transparency," said Neal Kelly.

"Budget Demolition was the successful bidder as their business proposal made the most economical sense for the ratepayers of Ontario."

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Among their projects, Budget has been involved in the demolition of Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Mosiac Stadium in Regina, Grace Hospital in Windsor and the former hospital in Sioux Lookout.

OPG announced in July 2018 that it was permanently shutting down the facility citing its high cost of operation and extensive repairs that were needed.

"We are very excited to announce that Budget Demolition has acquired the former OPG Thunder Bay Generating Plant, located on Mission Island, Thunder Bay," the company said in a news release.

"Budget Demolition has talked with the local Thunder Bay Economic Development group and are pursuing potential future uses of the site once the existing facility has been decommissioned."

The company said it's in the initial stages of mobilizing the site to start preparing the former power plant for decommissioning and demolition. They are looking for employ a local workforce to supplement its project team. That means recruiting asbestos abatement technicians, torchmen, machine operators and skilled labourers.

Key project milestones will be released by the project management team in the near future.  

Budget Demolition is part of Budget Environmental Disposal, a family-owned and operated waste disposal, recycling, and demolition company, in business since 1993 and based in Hamilton.

“I am confident with OPG’s decision to develop a business relationship with Budget Demolition, and I look forward to what the future of our former site will bring to the community of Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario,” said John Hefford, OPG's vice-president of the Western Region.

“I would also like to acknowledge the Thunder Bay Generating Station’s decommissioning and sale team for their ongoing dedication and commitment to the best possible outcome for the station, OPG and Ontario’s rate payer.”

OPG said its regional office will remain in Thunder Bay from where it oversees 11 hydroelectric stations and one biomass facility in Atikokan that collectively produces about 900 megawatts of power.

Built in 1963, the 300-megawatt power plant had been a coal burner for most of its operating life until the provincial government converted it to burn specialty wood pellets, imported from Norway. It was relegated to a peaking plant in 2015, which sporadically fired up only during times of peak energy use, when additional power was needed on the provincial grid to meet demand.