LSM Newswire

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Study shows Project Niagara could generate millions of dollars in economic activity and create hundreds of jobs

Project spearheaded by the NAC and TSO has potential to become next great cultural tourism destination

(Niagara-on-the-Lake) A feasibility study presented last night to Niagara-on-the-Lake Town Council by representatives from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and National Arts Centre (NAC) shows that Project Niagara a proposed 17-week international music festival to take place on the shore of Lake Ontario could generate more than a hundred million dollars in economic activity and create hundreds of jobs over several years.

Project Niagara is an initiative of the TSO and NAC. The two organizations have been working together on Project Niagaras development and feasibility since 2004. They are hoping to launch the festival during the bicentennial celebrations marking the War of 1812.

Monday night, before a well-attended Niagara-on-the-Lake Town Council meeting, Project Niagara Project Manager Kari Cullen provided an outline of the feasibility study for the proposed music festival.

Prior to the meeting, Andrew Shaw, President and CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre, issued the following statement: This feasibility study tells us beyond a shadow of a doubt that Project Niagara is a very strong concept, located in the right place, at the right time. With its proximity to the Shaw Festival, Niagara Falls and one of the worlds most diverse wine regions, Project Niagara has the potential to become Canadas next great cultural tourism destination.

Mr. Herrndorf was on hand for last nights meeting, along with Cathryn Gregor, Chief Operating Officer for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Alan Latourelle, CEO of the Parks Canada Agency, the responsible custodian of the land on Lakeshore Road, on the northwestern side of Niagara-on-the-Lake where Project Niagara would be located. The 268-acre site was overwhelmingly chosen over several sites in the Niagara Region based on criteria related to unique beauty, size, and ambient noise.

The Project Niagara Phase 2 Feasibility Study outlines the following points:

During its construction phase, Project Niagara would generate $106 million in various types of additional economic activity, including the creation of about 500 full time equivalent jobs.

In its fifth year of operation, Project Niagara would generate about $93 million in various types of additional economic activity, including the creation of 707 full time equivalent jobs.

Capital costs for Project Niagara are estimated at $76.5 million this breaks down as $37 million for all buildings on site, $18 million in site preparation, $11 million in landscaping, and $10 million for technical equipment.

The feasibility studys findings support that $25.5 million would be a reasonable amount of money to be raised through sponsorship and private donations. Project Niagara will request that the Federal and Provincial governments each match the private funds raised to achieve its capital cost target of $76.5 million.

Project Niagara will be run as an independent national cultural institution with its own Board of Directors. TSO and NAC representatives will sit on this board as ex-officio members.

Project Niagara has committed to working with the Region and the Town to help address any issues relating to transportation and sewage infrastructure.

Project Niagara is also working with the Parks Canada Agency on environmental assessment requirements with respect to the potential impact of the festival on flora and fauna in order to guide its activities on site.

Financial backing for the Project Niagara development work and analysis to date has come from the NAC and TSO, as well the Province of Ontario, Falls Management Corporation, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and the Niagara Economic Development Corporation.

Last week, Janice Thomson, Executive Director of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce, made a presentation to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Town Council to table more than one hundred individual letters of support from local residents, visitors and businesses of Niagara-on-the-Lake voicing their support for the creation of Project Niagara.

Click here to read the Project Niagara Phase 2 Feasibility Study. For more information about Project Niagara, please visit www.projectniagara.ca.

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