Industry is growing in Niagara and with the help and hard work of the Niagara Industrial Association, it can thrive.

That’s the message NIA director Roy Timms delivered to the Rotary Club of Welland Tuesday.

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A Rotarian himself, Timms told the two dozen members in attendance that he’s always had a passion for industry in the region.

“Positive things have been happening in Niagara,” he said, adding its the main reason for the creation of the association nearly three years ago.

The association — which represents manufacturers and suppliers throughout the region — has quickly grown to include 75 members from the industrial sector.

Members work together to “seek and create” new business opportunities, while presenting a “united business front” to promote the region, he said.

Since last year, the association has been focusing on green energy production.

The NIA has been working to promote Niagara as an ideal place for wind turbine production, working with the Great Lakes Wind Network.

In February, the association will host a trade show in Niagara Falls, in conjunction with Venture Niagara, that will focus on wind energy supply.

Timms said wind energy production is just beginning to take off in the area. Success can be seen from such companies as DMI Industries in Fort Erie, which produces wind towers.

In the past, DMI has purchased its manufacturing parts from the United States. It has since begun purchasing from local suppliers, Timms said.

Niagara is an ideal place for industries, such as green energy production, to be established, he said. The region has a skilled workforce and trades are encouraged by the local educational system. It also has the benefit of being close to both the United States border and the Greater Toronto Area, with access to major highways, railways and waterways.

“We need to promote the canal more,” he said, adding transporting wind turbines would be better done by water than by roadways. “We shouldn’t forget about the canal just because it’s old. We need to market it for our own good.

“We need to unite together and make the world more knowledgeable of what we have to offer.”

Timms said Niagara has a solid industrial base, with many smaller companies finding success, those employing 100 or 200 people, compared to the companies of the past that employed hundreds more.

Timms said the NIA helps to educate politicians about issues such as development charges and how they affect Niagara’s industrial sector.

“Investors look at these things before they come to Niagara,” he added.

He said the association works with local politicians in an effort to establish a good working relationship at the provincial and federal levels of government.

Timms said the NIA is hoping for funding from the Southern Ontario Development Agency so it can continue to grow and hire full-time staff.

For more information on Niagara Industrial Association, visit www.niagaraindustry.com.

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