JOHN ROBBINS/Bullet News
WELLAND – A German company that makes the massive blades for wind turbines has decided to set up shop in Welland.
Officials at Repower Systems Inc. say their investment in the Rose City will create up to 200 jobs during the next two years.
Up to 125 people will be hired immediately, with the company moving ahead with a job fair this week.
They hope to have the Rusholme Road plant running by July.
“Repower is here for the long run,” the company’s chief executive officer Helmut Herold told politicians, business leaders and members of the media assembled at Welland City Hall for the noon announcement Tuesday.
Among those in attendance were Welland Mayor Barry Sharpe and members of Welland council, Niagara Regional Chairman Gary Burroughs, Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn and Niagara College President Dan Patterson.
“We welcome Repower to our community,” said Sharpe, adding he’s “absolutely confident” the company will be a “outstanding” corporate citizen.
“We look forward to that future,” said Sharpe. “The confidence you’ve shown this community is much appreciated.”
Welland, like most parts of Niagara, has been hard hit by industrial/manufacturing job losses during the past two decades.
One bright area has been the green/renewable energy technology sector, which, although there have been some set backs, has been growing in recent years.
Niagara is now being talked about in economic development and business circles as a “hub” for green-energy technology.
Talks between Repower, the City of Welland and the Welland Development Commission took place over the course of two years before Tuesday’s announcement.
Repower will occupy the former Welland Pipe plant, located at 615 Rusholme Rd.
A job fair for the positions being hired in Phase 1 takes place today from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Job Gym, which is located at 225 East Main St.