The mayor of Saint-Jérôme fears that Lion Électrique will choose to build its future battery assembly plant in Mirabell, because Aéroports de Montréal provides it with installation conditions that its municipality cannot compete with.
Janice Belair Roland, Mayor of Saint-Jerome, considers Aéroports de Montréal (ADM), which manages the land around Mirabell Airport, to offer “unfair competition” for her municipality.
“We want to denounce them because it is not true that we will let St. Jerome leave,” she said.
According to M.I Bélair-Rolland, Lion Électrique received a “golden offer” from ADM to build a battery assembly plant in Mirabel rather than near the current Lion factory in Saint-Jérôme.
It’s a huge surprise to find out that through the gang, we have an ADM who is becoming a competitor who is coming to take this company from us. We may go as far as we can offer for our economic development, but if we encounter an entity like ADM that has something else to offer, we are not playing at equal footing.
Janice Belair Roland, Mayor of Saint Jerome
The mayor was unable to decide which tools would be available to ADM and which would not be available to the municipalities. “Any non-profit organization can do whatever it wants,” she adds.
Aéroports de Montréal refutes the allegations of unfair competition. Anne-Sophie Hamel, Director of Corporate Affairs and Media at ADM responded: “ADM is subject to the same standards and rules as any other entity in its negotiations with potential investors.”
It regrets that this accusation was “used in this arrogant manner by the city of Saint-Jerome in the course of their negotiations with Lion Électrique”.
The mayor is asking two levels of government to tighten Mirabel Aerocity mandate around the only space industrial group. “It is not an industrial park,” she adds.
According to ADM, the Aérocité Internationale de Mirabel is an “air and industrial center”. There is an Airbus A220 aircraft assembly plant, but there are also many other companies in other industrial sectors.
Last November, the city of Saint-Jérôme announced that it had reached an agreement with Lion Électrique to build its new battery plant on 450,000 square feet of land it owns, on the condition that the company gets financing.
The funding came on March 15th, as the Justin Trudeau and Francois Legault governments announced with fanfare a $ 100 million investment in the Lion battery assembly plant project.
Justin Trudeau’s cabinet press release spoke of the St. Jerome’s factory. Yuri Chasin, MP for Saint Jerome, was also present. François Legault’s office commented: “This was an important announcement by a commercial in his leadership and by Jerome, and it is an advertisement that Mr. Chasin has worked so much for him.”
According to M.I Belair Roland, on the evening of this announcement, the mayor of Mirabel posted a message on Facebook announcing that Lyon would move to Aérocité de Mirabel. The message has since been modified.
In the long run, M.I Belair Roland fears he will leave Lyon Saint-Jerome if his battery factory is built in Mirabell.
“Why would Leon keep their head office in Saint Jerome if they had 5 million square feet elsewhere?” She asks herself.
Lion Électrique did not respond to an interview request.