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LETTER: Idle plant loses opportunity


I've concerns that I'd like to direct to all those local people in Pictou County who have assumed or been elected to positions of municipal and provincial leadership.

In particular, I believe the mayor and council in Trenton should wish to promote action.

'You're burning daylight' is an old cowboy expression meaning you're wasting precious working time. A somewhat vulgar colloquial English expression, 'Either shit or get off the pot' has essentially the same meaning but also implicit in the latter expression is that the person, by failing to act, is preventing others from acting.

It's the one that entered my mind to linger there since Aug. 23 when I read in the local weekly paper a story about the Trenton Works industrial site. That story detailed that in 2016, the Department of Business filed for receivership proceedings and the receiver conditionally accepted the offer of a bidder to take over the operation.

However, that was in January and the receiver is still puttering along in negotiations with the bidder (presumably working out the details).

Meanwhile, the plant sits idle while a second bidder, a local Trenton boy, Roger Langille, has secured an order to build 480 wind towers which he would like to construct in the idle plant.

Haste can sometimes make waste but the wise learn that it's often best to make or forgive a little of that if you can more than make it up in added production.

It's this lost production that is concerning.

Last year, Langille had an order to build 600 tank cars and now these towers all of which he wanted done here at the idle Trenton site.  There is a significant cost of that lost production, not just for Langille but also for the town and its workers in Trenton and for the economy in Pictou County.

It's also worth noting that the workers not being employed are tradespeople. That is a sector of our population with skills now in short supply here in Nova Scotia because they have been leaving us in search of employment. To rebuild that population sector, we are offering free tuition in the community college to encourage trades training. But that only makes sense if we put some priority into getting the work that requires their skills in operation. Otherwise, it's just training to send away.

One further consideration:  I don't speak against foreign ownership. However, I do recognize that local ownership of larger business enterprises brings significant additional benefits. The Sobey family in Stellarton, the Murray family at the Advocate, the Ferguson (no relation) family when they owned the Pictou Shipyard – far more than foreign owners. These people, because they live here, take greater notice and interest in the local area and we benefit greatly from that. Langille wants his work done in Trenton because here is where he's from.

Ralph Ferguson

Pictou

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