Orillia | by
Ken Hashizume The utility plans to build a multi-million-dollar technological hub in West Orillia.
Hydro One is looking to bring a multi-million-dollar technological hub to Orillia.
The City announced on Tuesday that they are in negotiations with the utility that would see Hydro One set up shop in the Horne Business Park across the street from the Orillia campus of Lakehead University.
Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke says Hydro One has identified Orillia as a strategic area for investment in their business.
He says that would mean tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure and a significant number of high-quality jobs.
Clarke says the hub being planned would see network monitoring and coordinate emergency response with a number of organizations across the North American continent.
He says there is also the potential to bring in an innovative telecommunication management facility.
Clarke says Hydro One first approached the City on this initiative and the two sides have spent the summer on negotiations.
He says Council felt very confident about this proposal and found that there is enough merit to continue negotiating.
News of this proposal comes as the Ontario government is working on selling 60 percent of Hydro One.
Clarke says that is a completely separate issue from what the City and the utility are discussing.
He says Hydro One's investment into the City is what they are focused on.
Part of the deal would see Hydro One purchase the distribution portion of Orillia Power Corporation from the City.
Clarke says they want to have a vested interest in the distribution if they want to invest millions of dollars in the city.
But he says there are no plans for the City to divest their interest in the generation side of Orillia Power.
A final proposal is expected to be forwarded to Council early next year.