Questions abound as long-planned tire plant sits empty
Politicians in the Town of St. Marys say they’re scratching their heads over comments made by the man who’s spent the past three years promising to bring a tire remanufacturing plant to the area.
In 2013, more than 1,000 people attended a job fair for Green Arc Tires, which company COO Mike DiCenzo said would be up and running with 340 employees by early 2014.
Forty of the plant’s jobs were to be reserved for veterans, while DiCenzo said the facility would produce up to 3 million tires per year.
For a period of time, the plant’s opening was blamed on issues with Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, including an unpaid $25,000 fine from a previous DiCenzo venture.
That fine was eventually paid, and Green Arc was given the green light to start operating last July.
A ministry spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that it has no outstanding issues with the company.
Still, its facility – a former auto parts plant – continues to sit empty.
In a letter to the community, Dicenzo blamed the delays on “behind the scene (sic) politics” forcing Green Arc to scale back its operation.
“For any new business to succeed, it must have a willing host,” he said.
“Green Arc has not had the support of the Mayor of St. Marys or the local MPP.”
The letter came as a surprise to the mayor and MPP in question, both of whom say DiCenzo had never asked them for anything.
“I’ve been nothing but supportive of any business that wants to come to this riding, and certainly Green Arc is one of them,” said Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece.
Pettapiece, who once stood at Queen’s Park to praise the business for locating itself in St. Marys, said Tuesday that he had never had any direct contact with the company.
Mayor Al Strathdee, who was elected in 2014, says he met DiCenzo once but was never asked for help.
“I really don’t understand the statement or what he means,” Strathdee told CTV News.
“I think his statement’s very unfair.”
Reached by CTV News, a spokesperson for Green Arc declined to answer when the plant would open or any other questions – saying DiCenzo’s letter speaks for itself.