NEW WATERFORD, N.S. — New Waterford residents are questioning whether the community will benefit from 44 full-time federal jobs which will be based there as of Nov. 19.
The announcement that payroll specialists with Health Canada will work in New Waterford was made by Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking and Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner this week.
The two MPs revealed the job details at the former Spiegel building located at 3050 Wilson Rd., where the federal office will be housed. The building is also home to Slyce, an image recognition technology company.
The yearly salary for the two-year term positions is $50,000-$60,000 with benefits and the work they will do will help fix problems with the Phoenix payroll system.
Some staff has already been hired and began training on Sept. 10. Recruitment campaigns took place at Cape Breton University, Cape Breton Business College and the Nova Scotia Community College.
It is not known if all the positions have been filled.
“What jobs?” Peggy Rizzato said sarcastically. “We were just talking about this this morning. There doesn’t seem to be any jobs because they’ve already hired for them.”
Brian Duguid has lived in New Waterford his entire life and thinks the job terms aren’t long enough.
“I think it sucks because they’re only temporary jobs. Might last nine months, might last two years,” he said.
“What we need around here are long-term jobs. Something that’s more feasible.”
Business owner Donnie MacDougall is doubtful the new jobs will have a positive economic impact on New Waterford.
“Are there any jobs going to people from New Waterford,” said MacDougall, who opened Big Daddy’s Pizza 18 years ago.
“I would like to see people from New Waterford get the jobs, keep the money in the town.”
MacDougall doesn’t think he’ll see increased sales at his pizza shop when the staff move in because he doesn’t get many calls from (Slyce) staff already working in the building.
There are some small business owners who think they will see increased sales when the office opens.
“I think it’s fantastic news. The local economy can use any boost it can get,” said Laura Scheller, the Needs franchise owner.
Scheller thinks she will see more traffic from the federal employees and said, “even if I get two new customers that is good.”
Paul Burchell, owner of Island Friendly Computers, is also hopeful the new federal office will lead to new business at his shop which also sells office supplies.
“It could be very good for us if they decide to buy local.”
- 44 new jobs
- What: Payroll specialists
- For: Health Canada
- Focus: Fixing Phoenix payroll system
- Salary: $50,000-$60,000 yearly with benefits
- Where: Former Spiegel building which also houses Slyce