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Nova Bus facility groundbreaking lauded by governor, local officials

PLATTSBURGH A thundering of applause broke out as shovels broke the earth at the site of what is hoped to become part of a future economic hub for the town of Plattsburgh. In his first visit to the North Country since becoming governor last month, Gov. David A. Paterson appeared at a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a new transit bus assembly plant at the Banker Road Industrial Park. The governor announced Nova Bus, a division of Volvo Group based in Saint-Eustache, Quebec, will build a 135,740-square-foot manufacturing facility, expected to be completed in January 2009. The $25 million facility, which will begin test production in March 2009, will initially employ 160 workers and increase to 300 by the end of 2011. Nova Bus had been considering locations in several east coast states, said Paterson, but ultimately, Plattsburgh was chosen because of its proximity to Quebec and the opportunity to sell to New York States numerous transit authorities. This is a perfect place for that to happen and thats exactly the what I would call serendipitous circumstance that brings Nova Bus company here today, said Paterson. Nova Bus has been predominantly supplying buses to Canadian public transit systems, with a small number to U.S. customers. In order to establish a U.S. assembly plant, Nova had to comply with the Federal Transit Administration requirements which mandate a majority of parts for a bus must be manufactured and assembled in the U. S. Nova Bus president and chief executive officer Gilles Dion said he considered it a wise decision to invest in building a facility in Plattsburgh and that his company will offer outstanding customer support, high quality products and a very, very special partnership approach. Your welcome and your cooperation throughout the development of this project has been invaluable in making it a reality, Dion said. Building partnerships is the driving force behind the Nova Bus success, of the Nova Bus experience partnership with suppliers, partnerships with colleagues, partnerships with communities, and of course, partnerships with clients. Although he was unable to attend the ceremony, Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Bernard C. Bassett remarked in a statement that he was able to visit the Nova Bus plant in Saint-Eustache and was very impressed with what he saw. The supervisor was further delighted when the corporation decided to establish a new facility in the town, creating hundreds of jobs in the area. It is exciting to again see that the North Country and the town of Plattsburgh are chosen as a site for investment and development, Bassett stated. The decision to bring Nova Bus to this community will prove to be a wise one. I believe that the relationship between this community and the bus company will be long and successful. Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry F. Douglas, who was also unable to attend the ceremony, issued a statement in which he praised the motorcoach manufacturer for its decision. [Nova Bus] is a world class company that has recognized the power of Plattsburghs connectivity with Montreal and will now become another central player in our emergence as a North American hub for transportation equipment manufacturing and service, said Douglas. He further credited the collaboration of representatives from the state, the town of Plattsburgh, The Development Corporation, Crossborder Development Corp. and other agencies with the chamber of commerce in forming a successful team effort in the creation of the Nova Bus development. When reached for comment, Douglas said the chamber of commerces diplomatic role in working with Nova Bus has involved creating networking opportunities for Nova Bus with government officials and other industries with which they would likely do business. Douglas said the chamber also provided Nova Bus with insight to the potential of workforce development in the North Country, going as far as having the corporation involved with the formation of the chambers Aerospace and Transportation Equipment Task Force. The task force was developed last year, taking into account feedback from Nova Bus representatives, even before the decision the company would locate to Plattsburgh was finalized. Nova Bus will likely utilize curriculum already in place at Clinton Community College, CV-TEC and the State University of New York at Plattsburgh to some degree for its training, said Douglas. Additional educational programs that will benefit Nova Bus and other employers involved in transportation equipment and aerospace are also planned to be developed. The overall combination of efforts to bring Nova Bus to the area, said Douglas, is proof the North Country has what prospective businesses are looking for. This is just another affirmation that weve positioned the area correctly and that we have every reason to expect there will be more good things to come, said Douglas. This is a celebration, but we are not going to stand by and just marvel at our work, Paterson said. We are going to move forward and we are going to look at other projects that we can bring to this area and areas that are ancillary to Plattsburgh and the Clinton County region.

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