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Many believe that the economy of the Burin Peninsula is poised to take off over the next few years. Kiewit Offshore Services (KOS), a major metal fabrication facility located in Marystown, is a partner in a consortium bidding on a contract to construct three state-of-the-art supply vessels for the Canadian Navy. The awarding of the contract is expected as early as July of this year.
If successful, KOS, in conjunction with its partners, will fabricate the vessels from its facility in Marystown. It is expected that, at peak, 800 labourers and trades people will be employed over a 10-year period. Such a development will be a significant economic generator for the region, as well as the province.
But, as Dr. Rob Greenwood, director of Memorial University’s Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development points out, growth will need to be managed in order to minimize the social costs and to optimize the opportunities. “As witnessed in Fort McMurray and other boomtowns in western Canada, untrammeled growth can result in a lack of housing, skyrocketing wages, pollution and a decreased quality of life,” adds Dr. Greenwood, director of Memorial University’s Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development.
“Fortunately, the Burin Peninsula is not the first place to experience such potentially dramatic changes, and the region may be able to learn from other communities that have gone through radical changes in their economy and society. How have these places adapted to changes which have altered their traditional ways of working and living? What examples should be followed – and which should be avoided?”
To answer these and other questions, the Harris Centre, in conjunction with the Schooner Regional Development Corporation, is hosting a public meeting at the Marystown Hotel and Convention Centre on Thursday, May 22. The session, Planning for Growth: How Can we Maximize the Opportunities and Minimize the Threats? will begin at 7 p.m. and admission is free. A reception will follow.
The main presenter will be Dr. Keith Storey of the Department of Geography at Memorial University in St. John’s. Dr. Storey’s research focuses on the social and economic effects of large-scale resource and industrial projects on people and communities. He has been involved in numerous socio-economic assessments of projects in Atlantic Canada, including all of the province’s offshore oil projects, the Voisey’s Bay mine/mill and refinery, and the Confederation Bridge project between P.E.I and New Brunswick.
Dr. Storey will be joined on the podium by Sam Synard, mayor of Marystown, who has been active in increasing the awareness of the benefits of such projects.
This public policy forum will be held in conjunction with a workshop the following day at the Marystown Hotel and Convention Centre, where local leaders and stakeholders will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from Memorial University. The objective of the workshop is to identify new opportunities for the university to work with local organizations, to improve the social and economic conditions of the Burin Peninsula. This workshop is open to the general public and registration is free. Breakfast, lunch and nutrition breaks are provided by the Harris Centre. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. Persons interested in registering should contact the corporation at (709) 279-4641.
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