Building stronger communities through infrastructure investments (2015)

By Louis Roesch, Board Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is advocating for affordable, accessible natural gas across rural Ontario. For more than a year, our focus has been to address this issue with government and policy makers at Queen’s Park. And in 2014 the OFA welcomed the announcement of the provincial government’s investment in natural gas expansion with $200 million in loans and $30 million in grants over two years. Last year’s announcement was a good start.

This year, the OFA is committed to growing awareness of the benefits of expanding natural gas to farms and rural Ontario. Expanding the reach of this cost-effective energy will dramatically boost business with significantly lower energy costs. Natural gas is currently available to less than 20% of Ontario farms and rural households. Simply expanding access to natural gas to just 60% of Ontario farms, rural residents and businesses would free up $800 million per year in new disposable income. Those savings would fuel substantial reinvestment and economic development in rural Ontario.

The OFA is determined to see the expansion of natural gas. We are partnering with groups who support our call for expanded natural gas infrastructure and starting discussions with groups that share a common interest in the growth and development of rural Ontario like the Ontario Warden’s Caucus. We have a solid relationship with this group and regularly meet with both the western and eastern groups to discuss common interests and support each other’s efforts to develop and maintain healthy, well-funded municipalities.

OFA’s President Don McCabe will be addressing the importance of natural gas expansion to small and rural Ontario communities at the upcoming joint convention of the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) and the Rural Ontario Municipal Association. McCabe will be participating in a workshop discussing the need for natural gas infrastructure in rural Ontario. OGRA has stated one of its main business objectives is to advocate the collective interests of their members through consultation with partners and stakeholders. The OFA is pleased to be invited to consult on this important infrastructure venture. Opportunities like this are important for OFA to collaborate with influencers who are directly involved with determining the needs of our municipalities and building a stronger infrastructure for rural Ontario.

For more information, contact:

Louis Roesch
Board Member
Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Neil Currie
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture


R.von Martels says on February 13, 2015 at 4:58 PM

I'm all for it to have NG extended into the rural country site. Environmentally speaking it will be more positive than oil or propane.

Robert (Bob) Lake says on February 13, 2015 at 7:07 PM

A benefit that has not been mentioned, the Province is requiring electricity distribution companies to spend millions on conservation and load management. In rural Ontario, a typical, non-electric heated house will use about 1100 kwh per year, about 500 of that will be for an electric water heater. If a significant portion of the rural was able to convert to gas water heating, the permanent reduction in electical load would far exceed any Provincial targets. The former Ontario Power Authority, now merged with the Independent Electricity Operator, has a huge budget for conservation and load management. The money spent to date has yielded disappointing results, that have no guarantee of being permanent. The IESO is in the process of seeking proposals for demand managent, as directed by the Province. So much could be accomplished by getting more gas into more rural places. I have talked directly to Jeff Leal, our MPP and who I know from his former life as a councillor with Peterborough, who in turn has passed in on to the Minister of Energy, but to date, nada.

John says on February 13, 2015 at 7:28 PM

We only live one mile out of town and were considering building a new $ 1,000,000 poultry production facility. Building this would have given quite a few jobs to people in the community (all paying taxes on the income they would have made etc.) We were told it would cost $ 100,000 to bring the gas line to this property. Needless to say we decided against this expansion which now makes it so much harder for the next generation to continue farming!!!!

John Edward Walsh says on February 13, 2015 at 9:58 PM

More Natural GAs would be the smartest advancement since the windmill --- Do it and if I can help -- I will be glad to !!! Thank You

Lorne Heslop says on February 15, 2015 at 5:58 PM

I appreciate the work that the OFA is doing to promote an increase in natural gas access and utilization by agricultural producers in Ontario. However, please recognize that it is difficult for us in Eastern Ontario to get very interested in the issue. Current installation technology makes is cost prohibitive for us to expect any efforts to be made in Eastern Ontario. That being said, it would be good for the OFA to recognize this obstacle and either encourage installations where possible in Eastern Ontario or to recommend that they look at an alternative technology that might make it possible to increase the amount of coverage here.

Mike Medeiros says on February 16, 2015 at 1:20 PM

This all sounds so nice and great ,but we have been trying to get Natural Gas to our farm for the past 4 years. The gas is located 7600 meters away. We would be a very large user and there are also 2 gain elevators beside my farm that would love to have natural gas as well. We have had meetings with Embridge and now they are willing to put the line in at a up front cost of 2 million dollars. That's $263.00 per meter of 4" plastic pipe. The cost shouldn't be that high. We can't afford that up front cost. Can you help?

Sue-Ann Staff says on February 18, 2015 at 8:59 AM

This is an enormous issue for my winery. Competitors less than 500m away have access while we don't. And there has been several discussions regarding a viable option to get access to no avail. Every winter month I mail a cheque for propane, I know my competitors have a $700 to $2000 advantage over me. I appreciate the work OFA is doing on this issue. It is practical, safe and most reliable however we are excluded.

Leave a Comment

* indicates required field.