Podcast: Kemptville’s next boom, Variation Biotechnologies' $56M injection, Vanier 'gateway'

In this Behind the Headlines podcast episode, OBJ publisher Michael Curran speaks with OBJ editors David Sali and Peter Kovessy about some of the week’s biggest stories.

This is an edited transcript of the panel discussion. To hear the full interview, please watch the video above. Prefer an audio version of this podcast? Listen to it on SoundCloud or Spotify. 

CURRAN: This week we had a story about County Road 43 and how the upgrade of this road may bring about a bit of a business boom in Kemptville. Peter, can you tell us what’s going on there?

KOVESSY: Many businesses have been waiting for this news that upgrades to this portion of road is moving forward. For businesses such as Kemptville Retirement Living, this is really exciting, as they have been pretty blunt about their reluctance to move forward with their expansion plans with the road in its current state. There are concerns about the safety of left-hand turns out of the facility, which a new entrance and traffic circle would alleviate. Executives say this infrastructure upgrade will benefit a lot of companies in the area and really bring in the next business boom for Kemptville.

CURRAN: Everyone is interested in a COVID vaccine these days, and it seems like there is a local company called Variation Biotechnologies that is making significant progress. Dave, tell us about that.

SALI: There are about 30 researchers from the company currently working with the National Research Council at its R&D facility on Hunt Club Road to produce a vaccine that would target COVID-19. Variation Biotechnologies recently received $56 million from the federal government to continue its work and ramp up research and development to get a vaccine ready for clinical trials by the end of this year. The company’s CEO said it is important for Canada to have a domestically created vaccine to give us a leg up on having a stable supply of doses, and the ample talent in Ottawa will help the country achieve that. VBI’s creation is cheaper to produce than other types, and the team behind it is really hoping the technology will prove effective in the coming months.

CURRAN: We saw a new three-tower development application for Vanier this week. Peter, tell us about that project.

KOVESSY: The developers behind the project are really painting it as a gateway to Vanier, with its location on Montreal Road, just across the Cummings Bridge. It would contain more than 1,000 units and buildings of between 22 and 32 storeys. There were two big things that jumped out at me about this project. One is of course the players involved, main + main and ML Devco, both of which have specialities in this type of urban redevelopment. Main + main are also behind the big development on the former Alterna Savings site in the downtown core. We’ve also talked a lot about Vanier’s potential for redevelopment, and it's interesting that we are now really starting to see more institutional interest in the community, with other big projects popping up in the area as well.