Thunder Bay·Audio

Nipigon construction boom gives boost to town's economy

A major highway expansion, and bridge rebuilding project in the Nipigon area are giving the local economy a big boost — and some businesses in the town hope to reap the benefits of this construction boom for years to come.
Germaine Banning (right), who owns the Edgeview Restaurant, says the influx of construction workers is having a big impact on the service industry. (tripadvisor.ca)

A major highway expansion, and bridge rebuilding project in the Nipigon area are giving the local economy a big boost — and some businesses in the town hope to reap the benefits of this construction boom for years to come.

The Edgeview Restaurant in Nipigon is filled with construction workers.

Germaine Banning, who owns the restaurant with her husband, said that between serving extra customers coming in and catering for companies working on the nearby bridge project, her business has doubled in a year.

"We were lucky that we stepped into this when we knew that the construction was going to be ongoing," she said.

"We were hoping, and we were quite happy, that it came to realization."

The "considerable increase" in business is good news for new business owners like Banning. But she said she's also noticed other entrepreneurs are seeing a boost.

"I would say so. You go by any of the restaurants that are in town, or the grocery store, [or] any little small shops and so on — most definitely, it's having a positive impact on the community," she said.

'Pretty exciting' for business

Motels are also benefiting from the influx of workers.

Nipigon's economic development officer Suzanne Kukko said it's hard to find a room.

"Motels on the highway just being booked solid with our construction workers," she said.

"That's pretty exciting. And … one of our motels has actually expanded quite a bit."

The Beaver Motel in Nipigon built an additional eight units, and has renovated its entire building

A few other motels in Nipigon have also undergone some renovations.

Kukko said businesses hope the boom continues.

Although the bridge is scheduled for completion in 2018, four-laning the Trans Canada Highway will take years longer.

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