Craig Roberts, the vice president of marketing and economic development for ConstructConnect, addressed the CanaData conference on September 22 in Toronto. The topic of his talk was "Mega Projects in Ontario and Canada."
Roberts focused central and eastern Canadian projects, and said the definition of a mega project is that it is "large scale and costly."
"Megaprojects are a completely different ball game. Stakeholder consultation is needed on these, and they're a media magnet," Roberts said.
The new Champlain bridge in Montreal is an example of the iconic and aesthetic nature of megaprojects, he added. "I think we're hardwired for megaprojects as a species," Roberts said.
$6 to $9 trillion spent on megaprojects annually globally. "That is one big business," he added.
Infrastructure, Roberts said, is shaping up to be the biggest economic policy of the Liberal government. A lot of that money will go to transit, and mayors across Canada are "chomping at the bit" to start these projects.
In terms of billion dollar projects, Western Canada has $225.9 billion, Ontario $19.4 billion and $27.4 billion in Quebec. Atlantic Canada has $45.3 billion in investments.
The bulk of the Western Canadian investment is still in oil and gas, but there is transit infrastructure in Alberta and bridge and road work in Saskatchewan. 45 per cent of investment is in resources, with 18 per cent in energy, 23 per cent in infrastructure and 14 per cent in buildings.
In Quebec, hydroelectric is big, with Petit-Mecatina being a $3.6 billion project starting in July 2018. Quebec also has the Champlain Bridge, which will be the busiest bridge in Canada (currently the Port Mann Bridge in the GVRD is the busiest.)
Montreal is also seeing expansion, with health and commercial projects being a primary focus of investment.
The new Confederation Light Rail line in Ottawa is a $2.1 billion expansion which is expected to open in 2018, and is the largest investment ever by the City of Ottawa. Toronto has the $1.5 billion Oxford Place development, which will build four buildings and renovate the convention centre.
The Ring of Fire project in Kenora, Ontario is $1 billion and the draft environmental impact assessment is now complete. Pickering Airport is a $2 billion airport that was never built in the 1970s but now looks to be on track to proceed. Gordie Howe Bridge International Bridge in Windsor, ON is a $4 billion project straddling the Canadian and U.S. border. The U.S. has already approved construction of the bridge, and though on the Canadian side the process has been more contentious, the project looks to be moving towards construction.
Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador is a $6 billion dam and the Kami Iron Ore mining project in Labrador is another Labrador project valued at $1.3 billion.
Nova Scotia has its own liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the Bear Head LNG project in the Strait of Canso. It is a $4 billion project and has been fully approved and is ready to go, which is a first in Canada. The location is also halfway to Europe, which has more potential at the moment for LNG sales than does China.
As the economy improves, Roberts said, we'll see more of these resource and energy projects moving forward, though not at pre-2008 levels.