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Competition heating up in tight market.

Construction in Thunder Bay is grinding to a halt at a time when the market is becoming more competitive, report two contractors.

John Jones of Tom Jones Construction says the current level of construction is less than it has been in Thunder Bay's recent history. His company is currently completing a $3-million senior citizens' residence, building a pool at Big Thunder and starting construction of a new $10-million Superstore.

Beyond these projects there is not much more coming up, says Jones.

"We are looking at the likelihood of two new office complexes, but there is not as much on the horizon as has gone by," he states.

"It (construction activity) is off compared to what it has been in the past five years. And it has become more competitive with big companies coming from the east and west to bid on jobs."

According to Jones, this new competition could not come at a worse time for the local industry.

"There are no major construction projects in the area that will absorb the industry. The mills are not spending and the grain industry is way off," he says.

However, Bruce Wing of A.J. Wing Construction believes that limited work and a tighter bond market will keep people who should not be bidding on large projects off the list.

A.J. Wing recently completed three major projects - the $3.5-million Health Resource Centre at Lakehead University, the $5-million Rendezvous Place at Old Fort William and the $6-million, 72-unit Boulevard Park condominium project.

While Bruce Wing believes the condominium market will show continued growth, Don Wing says the overall construction industry "is almost at a standstill.

"Last year's volumes were almost the same," he adds.

Gordon Cuthbertson, the general manager of city planning, confirms that the institutional construction sector appears to be stagnant.

The sector has generated $26 million worth of new construction this year compared to only $14 million in 1991. But, at the same time, the value of repair work has dropped to $5 million from $8.5 million.

Cuthbertson points out that the total building activity in the city is ahead of last year, primarily because the residential sector is showing signs of rebounding.

"I think we have a fairly strong sector and we have some major projects coming up," says Cuthbertson.

These planned projects include a new terminal at the Thunder Bay airport, a $4-million addition to the police headquarters, a new school, an expansion of the Inter City Mall, a new $2-million Employment and Immigration Canada building and a new $3.5-million building for a local car dealership.

Cuthbertson says the city is doing repair and maintenance to the tune of $6 million this year. The work includes an addition to the public works building and the construction of a new fire hall.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:construction industry in Thunder Bay, Ontario
Author:Brown, Stewart
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Aug 1, 1992
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