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OPG selects a 'proponent' for purchase of Thunder Bay Generating Station

The buyer's identity – and its plans – are still under wraps.

THUNDER BAY — Ontario Power Generation is now negotiating with one party interested in acquiring the mothballed Thunder Bay Generating Station on Mission Island.

It's unclear yet whether the proponent's plans would satisfy the City of Thunder Bay's aspirations for the use of the site.

OPG hired a global real estate services broker to market the plant and the 54-acre property earlier this year.

In a statement Wednesday to Tbnewswatch, spokesperson Neal Kelly said that effort has culminated with OPG selecting its preferred proponent "but at this time it would be inappropriate to comment on the proponent as negotiations are ongoing."

In the interim, OPG will continue decommissioning activities centred on the generating station's ash landfill, which is not part of the site sale.

Kelly said "all remaining TBGS site structures will be left in a safe state to be turned over to the successful proponent."

The City of Thunder Bay and the Community Economic Development Commission want the site repurposed as an economic development tool.

"We have made our best efforts" to identify candidates to redevelop the property, Kelly said, but added "As a publicly owned company, we have a responsibility to select the proponent that delivers the best value for the benefit of Ontario taxpayers."

Eric Zakrewski, CEO of the CEDC, is waiting to learn more details.

The commission previously gave OPG its views on what uses for the property would create the best value for the city, including jobs and economic spinoffs.

One idea that was floated was for a district steam-heating operation, possibly to support an industrial park or greenhouses.

Asked on Wednesday if he was encouraged to learn that OPG has narrowed its search to one prospective purchaser, Zakrewski said whether the city's goals will be met is "all going to depend on the business plan that that bidder has."

He added "We remain hopeful that they will select the best value proposition for the city and for employment and economic development potential. That's been our input throughout the process."

Kelly said OPG hopes to release more information by the end of the summer, and to close the transaction by the end of the year.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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