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Premier sees potential in Harbour Grace shipbuilder

<p>Premier Paul Davis, left, joined Harbour Grace-Port de Grave candidate Glenn Littlejohn Thursday for a visit to Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises’ shipbuilding facility. Showing them around is HGOE general manager Paul Lannon.</p>
<p>Premier Paul Davis, left, joined Harbour Grace-Port de Grave candidate Glenn Littlejohn Thursday for a visit to Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises’ shipbuilding facility. Showing them around is HGOE general manager Paul Lannon.</p>

Paul Davis would not say for certain that a reelected Progressive Conservative government would support the Town of Harbour Grace and shipbuilder Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises on a multimillion-dollar marine industrial park. But he does see potential in the project.

“I think that (HGOE general manager Paul Lannon) and the team here have a really good potential to make a really good business case that we would have to pay very important attention to,” the premier said Thursday morning in a carefully worded response to reporters.

Davis joined Harbour Grace-Port de Grave PC candidate Glenn Littlejohn Thursday on a few visits in the district, with the first stop coming at HGOE.

The Town of Harbour Grace is taking the lead on the proposed project, which would transform the harbour and increase business activity in the community. A feasibility study completed earlier this year suggests it will cost $23.5 million.

When asked where a project like the one proposed in Harbour Grace would fit into his governing plans, Davis spoke of the five-year approach he is taking to budgeting infrastructure investment.

“It has to be a living document. It has to be able to move and look at potential opportunities. To me, this area here has great potential, and as (Lannon) and his team work through their opportunities … in partnership with the federal government, the provincial government, and also with the town … it shows they’re very interested in growing this operation right here.”

Lannon and HGOE operations manager Wayne Reid spoke at length Thursday about their plans. According to Lannon, there is a lot of demand for shipbuilding services, and with many rural areas experiencing hardship, he feels HGOE is in a good position to benefit Harbour Grace and serve a wider market.

“We’re turning away business, and we don’t want to keep that up,” he said.

The majority of its business comes from the fishery, and Lannon would like to see HGOE become more involved in offshore activities in addition to expanding the services it can offer the fishing industry.

“Both Ocean Choice (International) and Clearwater come into Harbour Grace Cold Storage just next door to offload their catch, and they sail right by our property,” said Lannon. “When we talk to them about, ‘Well if we stock the parts and put some infrastructure in,’ they say, ‘We’ll save millions,’ because they’re not sailing overseas. It takes a week with a crew and fuel. You’ve got to fly the crew home, and the vessel is over there for a month, then they’ve got to fly back to get it. All that goes right into the refit.”

Upwards of 75 people work at HGOE during peak periods.

According to Reid, bigger vessels are in demand and the offshore industry is robust. He said the marine industrial park project has the potential to bring more companies into the community and make Harbour Grace stronger.

The company is currently in the process of expanding its wharf. That expansion is now the subject of an environmental assessment.

editor@cbncompass.ca

“I think that (HGOE general manager Paul Lannon) and the team here have a really good potential to make a really good business case that we would have to pay very important attention to,” the premier said Thursday morning in a carefully worded response to reporters.

Davis joined Harbour Grace-Port de Grave PC candidate Glenn Littlejohn Thursday on a few visits in the district, with the first stop coming at HGOE.

The Town of Harbour Grace is taking the lead on the proposed project, which would transform the harbour and increase business activity in the community. A feasibility study completed earlier this year suggests it will cost $23.5 million.

When asked where a project like the one proposed in Harbour Grace would fit into his governing plans, Davis spoke of the five-year approach he is taking to budgeting infrastructure investment.

“It has to be a living document. It has to be able to move and look at potential opportunities. To me, this area here has great potential, and as (Lannon) and his team work through their opportunities … in partnership with the federal government, the provincial government, and also with the town … it shows they’re very interested in growing this operation right here.”

Lannon and HGOE operations manager Wayne Reid spoke at length Thursday about their plans. According to Lannon, there is a lot of demand for shipbuilding services, and with many rural areas experiencing hardship, he feels HGOE is in a good position to benefit Harbour Grace and serve a wider market.

“We’re turning away business, and we don’t want to keep that up,” he said.

The majority of its business comes from the fishery, and Lannon would like to see HGOE become more involved in offshore activities in addition to expanding the services it can offer the fishing industry.

“Both Ocean Choice (International) and Clearwater come into Harbour Grace Cold Storage just next door to offload their catch, and they sail right by our property,” said Lannon. “When we talk to them about, ‘Well if we stock the parts and put some infrastructure in,’ they say, ‘We’ll save millions,’ because they’re not sailing overseas. It takes a week with a crew and fuel. You’ve got to fly the crew home, and the vessel is over there for a month, then they’ve got to fly back to get it. All that goes right into the refit.”

Upwards of 75 people work at HGOE during peak periods.

According to Reid, bigger vessels are in demand and the offshore industry is robust. He said the marine industrial park project has the potential to bring more companies into the community and make Harbour Grace stronger.

The company is currently in the process of expanding its wharf. That expansion is now the subject of an environmental assessment.

editor@cbncompass.ca

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