SLEMON PARK, P.E.I. — Slemon Park Corp. is no longer in the boat and motorcycle storage business. It needs the space for something much bigger.
The Crown corporation announced earlier this week that $5 million in funding has been secured to, among other directly related things, renovate 300,000 square feet of its aerospace facility, Hanger 8, at 800 Aerospace Blvd.
That empty section of the hanger traditionally has been rented out by the corporation as winter storage for pleasure craft, cars and seasonal vehicles.
The renovation project will turn that space into a major new expansion for StandardAero (formerly Vector Aerospace). The company will extend its long-time Hanger 8 home to include almost all of the renovated space. Between the new and old sections, Standard Aero will take up nearly half of the total Hanger 8 facility.
Jeff Poirier, vice-president and general manager for StandardAero in Summerside, said Monday’s news was connected to an announcement the company made in May, that it would hire an additional 80 employees. The expansion will give the company the space and capacity it needs to put those people to work.
“When we’re running at full capacity our current shop is physically full. There is no more space for engines or parts. This allows us to expand that,” said Poirier.
He added that the tender for the first phase of the expansion project has already been awarded and renovations are expected to be completed by late October or early November.
The $5 milllion is a joint investment by the provincial and federal governments.
The federal government has approved a $2 million grant and a $750,000 conditionally repayable loan for the project. The Prince Edward Island government is giving a $1.5 million grant and a $750,000 repayable support loan.
The province is also providing StandardAero with an additional $650,000 in aerospace job rebates for 50 of the jobs scheduled to be added.
The federal government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, also announced $3.2 million in new digital manufacturing processes for Slemon Park-based MDS Coating Technologies.
P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan praised the Island’s aerospace industry for its continued success.
“We’re here because we know that this aerospace sector is going to continue to do well in P.E.I., it’s going to continue to be globally competitive, it’s going to look to StandardAero for leadership, and to this great facility here in Slemon Park as a place that we can continue to grow,” said MacLauchlan.
StandardAero currently employs 465 people at its Slemon Park facility.