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Evidence of resilience and rebounding in SW La.

Posted by: George Swift on Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The last two weeks have seen some major projects take shape which give credibility to the belief, that despite massive hurricane damage, our region is on the rebound. 

In Beauregard Parish, one of the first major industrial announcements in over forty years was made.  Canfor Corporation will build a $160 million state of the art lumber mill at the Louisiana Economic Development Certified Site at the Beauregard Regional Airport in DeRidder. This facility will create 130 jobs and 385 indirect jobs. This also breaks the ice on a project for the airport which should lead to more industrial expansion on the 1,100 acre mega-site. 

Chennault Industrial Airpark had the groundbreaking for a new air cargo facility which Chennault officials believe will open the door to diversification.

 

Tellurian exercised its long-term lease option with the Port of Lake Charles. The company is taking the necessary steps to prepare for the Driftwood LNG construction which will result in over 6,500 construction jobs and about 400 operational jobs. Other LNG projects are moving toward final investment decision.

Last week, Gov. John Bel Edwards was in Westlake for the groundbreaking for a new $170 million plant for BioLab, which had burned after Hurricane Laura.  BioLab is a manufacturer of chlorine tablets and was such a major player in the industry that its destruction has contributed to a shortage of chlorine tables for pools nationwide. BioLab will retain 30 jobs, add over 70 new jobs and create over 230 indirect jobs when the plant is complete in spring of 2022.  

 
Gov. Edwards also attended the groundbreaking of Port Wonder, a collaborative public-private effort shepherded by Mayor Nic Hunter. This $20 million showplace will house the Children’s Museum and a science and nature center to be operated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. This project should be a catalyst for further lakefront development, according to Mayor Hunter, who began his second term July 1. Adjacent to Port Wonder will be a restaurant overlooking the lake operated by Crying Eagle Brewing Company. With over 90,000 vehicles passing daily in front on I-10, this development should entice folks to stop and increase our area’s tourism.

While recovery and rebuilding continues as residents and businesses deal with insurance companies, lack of contractors, and back-orders on household goods and building supplies, our region is exhibiting our resilience. At the Alliance we are currently working with several industrial prospects and potential commercial and residential developers so the interest in our area is high. 

With thousands of job openings in our five-parish region, our residents can get back to work. Many folks are hindered by the lack of affordable housing. Long term recovery plans from the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury will be revealed soon and implementation of that plan is absolutely necessary for our region to make a full recovery. The Chamber SWLA continues to push our Louisiana Congressional Delegation find a way to pass the $3 billion Disaster Relief Appropriation as requested by Gov. Edwards and supported by our local officials. These funds are essential for housing and strengthening our infrastructure for our future.  

Southwest Louisiana is our home and we want our children and grandchildren to stay here. We are valuable to our nation with agriculture, timber, chemical products and energy production. We cannot afford to let the partisan bickering in our nation’s capital keep us from recovering. We not only want to recover, but also, we want to build stronger and better than before. Whether future generations stay here, depend on it. 

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