Letter to the Editor – Harry Valentine Challenges Gilcig Mayoralty Platform – June 30, 2014

Letter to the Editor – Harry Valentine Challenges Gilcig Mayoralty Platform – June 30, 2014

LTE UTO: Jamie


I read with interest your promise, if elected to public office, to attract $25/hour jobs to Cornwall. I will urge you re-consider such a promise given that the North American economy is in a mess. The US-dollar is the world’s reserve currency and unless US lawmakers drastically reduce their spending on defense and other pet projects, don’t expect any long-term economic improvement any time soon. During previous municipal elections, candidates promised to work to attract higher paying jobs to Cornwall, except that nothing resulted. The days of high-wage manufacturing jobs in the North American economy are over, for at least the next decade.


In you political campaign, you mentioned a young Stephen Clark who as mayor of Brockville built that city’s economy. Much of that economy spun off from West Ottawa (Kanata) economic progress that began under onetime Kanata Mayor Des Adam who enticed along with developers, attracted then fledgling high technology and information sector companies to ‘set-up-shop’ in the then rural community. Many years earlier, futurist Alvin Toffler penned his treatise entitled FUTURE SHOCK that foretold the development of that sector of the economy. It took a few years after the late 1970’s for Kanata’s high tech sector to blossom.


Brockville was within easy commuting distance to Kanata and VIA Rail offered AM and PM return trains between Ottawa and Brockville, with a stop at Barrhaven (near to Kanata). All that was needed at Brockville was for somebody in a position of political influence, to ‘open the door’ for some high-profile companies to open a branch office. At the present day, the first daily weekday train to Toronto leaves Brockville at 7:00AM and arrives in Toronto at 10:00AM. They also have a late afternoon leaving Toronto for Brockville; ideal for the business community and with convenient return trains to/from Ottawa.




With regard to Cornwall, peddling Cornwall’s convenient location has long worn thin. Brockville has an excellent road connection into the USA via Interstate 81 and a good highway connection to/from Ottawa. Cornwall’s advantage has to do with it being outside of Quebec and with good future indirect and possibly direct maritime connections to the rest of the world. Events occurring far away promise to provide an advantage. Cornwall’s distribution centers depend on low-cost container transportation from Asian countries like China. While super-ships offer low per container transportation costs to Vancouver, trans-Canada railway transportation costs are a disadvantage.


While the new Panama Canal is too small to transit the world’s biggest container ships, they can still sail through the Suez Canal. Construction is underway at Sydney NS and Port Hawkesbury NS to build deep-sea container ports. These ships are too huge to even sail to Quebec City. During winter, trains will carry the winter off-peak container shipments to Cornwall, at lower transportation cost than the trip through Vancouver. During warm weather, small ships will carry containers to Montreal, with trucks completing the trip to Cornwall. Alternatively, tug-barges could carry containers at low cost right to Cornwall’s doorstep.




Cornwall’s advantage will be cost competitive maritime container access to the city’s waterfront, whether at Cornwall docks or at a rebuilt old dock at the warehouse on RR2 near Boundary Road. Such service would enhance Cornwall’s attractiveness for freight transportation logistics and enhance the bottom line for distribution centers that operate from Cornwall. Some distribution centers may transfer produce, enhancing for super-size greenhouses near Cornwall, perhaps on a piece of agriculture zoned land located between Hwy 401 and CN tracks, west of Moulinette Road in South Stormont, with a food processing plant located on the east side of Moulinette Road.


The saturated earth of Cornwall’s swamp in the industrial park is an asset. It could serve as the heat sink for a cold storage facility attached to a distribution centre, reducing their refrigeration energy costs by over 60%. Politicians will need to be wary of snake-oil salesmen posing as dynamic entrepreneurs arriving in the area with plans to build a super-size greenhouse, except that their business plan will depend on government funding. It would be disaster if any area politician falls for such crap. Some 40-years of past history has repeatedly shown that they have nothing to offer the region.




Distribution centers buy consumer products from Asian manufacturers who make such products at low cost. In this area, automated manufacturing could go far in reducing manufacturing cost with the advantage of lower transportation cost from the factory to the distribution centre. Operators at computers located overseas may oversee some aspects of manufacturing, to assure competitive manufacturing costs. Again, area politicians need to be wary of snake-oil businessman who arrive in this area with plans to build such factories, except that their business plans depend on government funding. While the region has potential, political behaviour could screw it up quite royally.




New generation ‘3-D printers’ can actually make a range of products from a range of different materials. These machines are sufficiently small to fit inside a home basement or a home garage. Miniaturization is occurring in many sectors of the economy, such as the NUCOR small steel mill, the 10-MW micro nuclear power station from Toshiba and a range of other small and automated technologies capable of performing a myriad of task. The ingenuity of an inventive entrepreneur could mass-produce a range of marketable products with help from a small staff, possibly family operating from small premises.


Micro factories could sell product to distribution centers and also to a variety of retail outlets located within the region, including Ottawa and Montreal. Real time Internet connections to competitively priced expertise located elsewhere (in the world) could keep these machines productive overnight. Mini-factories need to be the concern of private entrepreneurs who operate free from political involvement and who build their businesses on private capital. Such businesses could operate in Cornwall and in the surrounding area. Local and area technicians and specialists would be available to provide the expertise to keep the technology functional.




CN Rail has introduced locomotives placed in the middle of the freight trains. The combination of forward and mid-train locomotives allows the railway to operate longer trains that delay traffic at grade crossings. Boundary Road will need an overpass within the next few years to enhance future increased north-south commercial road traffic. West of Pitt Street, Tollgate Road will need to be diverted along the north side of the CN tracks to an intersection with Brookdale Avenue located north of (a future widened) CN overpass. Then close the grade crossing on Tollgate Road.


While road-rail intermodal transfers occurring at the CN rail yard on Marleau Avenue, most of the containers that arrive at that yard are destined for the distribution centers in the industrial park. Perhaps some future discussions with CN Rail could relocate the intermodal terminal into Cornwall’s industrial park, where transfers of containers between rail and road may occur. During winter when the Seaway is closed, future containers carried on super ships will arrive at deep-sea ports in Nova Scotia. CN Rail will carry them to Cornwall.



NO, I am NOT a candidate for public office

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