HALIFAX – Ottawa has announced a $288 million contract between the federal government and Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax for the design of new Arctic offshore patrol ships and Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the economic benefits could be felt in Pictou County.
MacKay said he knows Pictou County residents are already working in the Irving Shipyard and this contract will support up to 200 jobs, with work on the ships expected to begin in 2015.
“The overall procurement award to Irving was predicated on the fact that they would indeed share the wealth. Subcontracts, pieces of the ship itself and perhaps some of the work could potentially go to MacGregor’s Machining, to Aecon Fabco, to other local service providers,” the Central Nova MP said in an interview. “There are also, under the national project, smaller ships, smaller supply vessels that could in fact be built in the local yard in Pictou and, again, some of the subcontracts could be felt in our local economy.”
MacKay said he hopes this contract and the other shipbuilding contracts in Halifax will entice Nova Scotians who have moved west looking for work to come back home.
“The hope is that it will attract them back and keep them here,” he said. “The local community college, they are gearing some of their trade and their courses at the community college to do just that, to see that we have the local skills and the local jobs and maximum opportunity to keep people here, to see that the jobs are filled by local individuals and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
A statement from the premier’s office said Irving Shipbuilding will begin tendering for $300 million in infrastructure upgrades at the Halifax Shipyard, to ensure Halifax Shipyard is ready to build the Arctic offshore patrol ships in 2015, as well as the larger combat ships currently scheduled to begin production in 2020. The statement also noted that the build phase for each of these projects is where most of the jobs will be created.
MacKay said the design contract with Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax was made under the national shipbuilding procurement strategy.