Midhurst/March 9, 2021 – Today, County Council approved a proposal from Volatus Aerospace, one of the largest tech-enabled drone solution and unmanned aerospace technologies providers in Canada, to locate a significant portion of its domestic and international assembly operations and research and development initiatives to the LSRA through the development of the 'Volatus Aerospace Centre of Excellence'.
The initial investment by Volatus Aerospace is anticipated to generate 17-20 high paying jobs in the aerospace sector, helping to transform the LSRA into an economic and innovation hub, creating strong synergies and encouraging further sector/industry development while enhancing talent attraction to Simcoe County.
“We welcome the team from Volatus Aerospace to Simcoe County and thank them for recognizing the potential of our region and the LSRA towards their ongoing success," said Warden George Cornell. “It was important that we acted quickly to leverage this exciting opportunity and avoid missing out on new jobs and investment. Utilizing the airport as a key driver for economic growth, we're taking a proactive approach to positioning our region as a leading hub for innovation and manufacturing. We are also balancing these efforts to attract new investment with continued support of our current businesses who are facing challenges during this pandemic."
“In looking for the right place to locate this strategic facility, our interest was piqued by a number of potential advantages and synergies that can develop," said Glen Lynch, President & CEO of Volatus Aerospace. “The available hangar is the right size; the neighbouring, innovation-oriented neighbours provide the potential for excellent cross-platform experience sharing; some of the best education organizations with capability to contribute to our industry are located in close proximity and CFB Borden as the largest training base in the DND will surely prove advantageous in available talent and opportunity for public/private partnering."
Through the County's LSRA Aerospace Development Fund, the project will be eligible for up to $100,000. The LSRA Aerospace Development Fund is a new annual fund to stimulate private sector investment and drive innovation at the LSRA. Eligible investment projects must attract private sector investment, develop the aerospace sector in Simcoe County, create jobs and build talent, lead to broad positive economic impacts, while also encouraging research, innovation and collaboration. County Council approved this initial grant funding program quickly as they recognized the immediate need to create this modest program so that County staff could bring this tremendous opportunity and potentially other fulsome opportunities to the LSRA Board of Directors for their information and consideration. The County's Economic Development Committee will be considering the future structure of the grant program in terms of expanding and building on it.
“I'm excited about the impact our efforts and investment at the airport are already having," said County Councillor and LSRA Board Chair Richard Norcross. “I look forward to working with fellow Board Members to facilitate the details and operations of the opportunities created by this new grant program."
About Volatus Aerospace Operations at the LSRA
Volatus Aerospace has headquarters in Quebec and offices in seven Canadian cities, as well as offices in Colombia, South America, and Albany, NY. Through the 'Volatus Aerospace Centre of Excellence' the company plans to lease a currently available hangar (32,000 sq.ft.) at the LSRA, for assembly/integration of drone components and systems integration, along with research and development. Additionally, their manned aircraft business would operate as a charter service out of the LSRA. Expected employment for the assembly/integration of drone components will continue to double for the next 2-3 years, based on projected growth. Volatus Aerospace is expected to begin renovations of existing hangar space at the LSRA as early as April 2021 and be operational by September 2021.
County's Investment in LSRA
In January 2020, the County became the majority shareholder of the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport (LSRA), with a 90 per cent ownership stake, and is leading investment initiatives to help propel the airport forward. In addition to the Volatus Aerospace project, the ongoing investment in the LSRA strategic plan has supported the progression of the MediCA Park development and the Oro Station Automotive Innovation Park development, both adjacent developments to the LSRA that utilize airport services.
The County has completed the first phase of an investment of more than $3.5 million towards widening the LSRA runway from 100 ft to 150 ft, and other upgrades including LED high intensity runway lighting. The widening is expected to be completed in summer 2021. Future phases of the airports expansion include a proposal to lengthen the runway from 6,001 ft. to 7,000 ft., which will allow for larger aircrafts to utilize the airport. The County continues to make other strategic investments to enhance airport operations and support the needs of key industries in the area.
Supporting local businesses and individuals during the pandemic:
Through tourism, economic development and social and community services, among other departments, the County continues to support local businesses/industry as well as individuals during this global pandemic. Funding and supports include:
- $600,000 in available funding through our recently launched Tourism, Culture and Sport grant program to support not-for-profits and municipalities with tourism development with a focus on recovery
- Co-ordinate the Digital Main Street & Beyond Program (going beyond provincial program to support eligible businesses throughout Simcoe County with digital pivoting supports)
- Manage Covid-19 Business Resources Portal - resources, funding programs, events and education available to support the business community
- Represent region on Boards to provide direction and support, relaying information on all relief programs to Simcoe County stakeholders and operators
- Administration of the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
- Co-ordination of the Ontario Works Financial Support program for qualifying individuals who are temporarily unemployed or experiencing a business closure
- Co-ordination of the Housing Retention Program to support qualifying individuals who are experiencing rental, utility or mortgage arrears
County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at simcoe.ca.
- 30 -
Public Relations Manager
County of Simcoe, Service Simcoe Branch
Public Relations Consultant
County of Simcoe, Service Simcoe Branch