GATINEAU, QC, March 9 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister
of State for Canada Economic Development, and the Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for Pontiac, today
announced the awarding of $1,940,000 in non-repayable funding to the Compagnie
de chemin de fer de l'Outaouais. This funding will go toward the work required
to repair the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield railway line.
This project, which will necessitate a total investment of $5.8 million,
will be carried out in partnership with the Government of Quebec, the
municipalities concerned, the Conférence régionale des élus and Outaouais
Tourism. In May 2008, a landslide brought the steam train, the only one of its
kind still operating in Canada since 1992, to a complete stop. Its famous
locomotive 909, built in Sweden over 100 years ago, is seen as a distinctive
symbol and trademark of the Outaouais region.
"We had to support this tourist attraction. The steam train alone is
featured in 40 percent of all the tourism packages sold by Outaouais Tourism.
It attracts more than 55,000 people annually and generates $10 million in
spinoffs. To that you have to add 80 direct jobs, not to mention indirect
jobs, for example, in Wakefield businesses," said Minister Lebel.
"Since the landslide, there has been general agreement among regional
economic stakeholders that a strong consensus had to be found and a complete
financing package set up. Both conditions had to be met to get the train back
on track as soon as possible. The "petit train de Wakefield", as it is known
in the region, is an important tourist draw for the Outaouais and
strengthening the regional economy is essential to get through these tough
times," explained Minister Cannon.
This contribution to the Compagnie de chemin de fer de l'Outaouais has
been awarded under the Community Diversification program's Major Economic and
Tourism Facilities initiative which helps devitalized regions and communities
develop facilities and promote short- and medium-term economic growth.
Tourism is a promising niche for the Outaouais region, as are high
technology and the processing of agri-food and wood products. It is in these
priority sectors that Canada Economic Development has decided to focus its
development efforts by supporting projects that will have an impact on both
the region's urban areas and rural belt.
For further information: François Bélisle, Communications, Canada
Economic Development, (819) 825-5260, ext. 235,
email@example.com; Eric Lefebvre, Senior Assistant,
Communications, Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Canada Economic
Development, Cell.: (613) 608-7906, firstname.lastname@example.org; Canada
Economic Development is online at www.dec-ced.gc.ca. Subscribe to the Agency's
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