Room to grow
Job creation, diversification are concerns ahead of election
Sheldon Vaters sat quietly, head buried in a job application.
It’s Thursday morning and save for Vaters and some staff, the provincial Employment Centre in Marystown is empty.
A tradesperson, the Burin resident has worked on some of the big oil projects in the province.
“Right now, at this moment, everything is extreme ly slow,” he said, adding,
“There’s so many people looking for jobs now. It’s almost turning into a crisis.”
The provincial election is days away and the economy and employment are big topics for some, especially with the price of oil hitting the economy so hard.
“The main concerns for me would be for the government to create more of a steady stream of work,” Vaters said, “instead of sporadic work that’s just here and there and partially because a lot of the work (on big projects) has been done outside the province.”
Likewise, Fred Winte r l and thinks the prov ince missed the boat by going overseas for ferry construction.
Fizzard, a tradesperson employed on the Hebron project at Peter Kiewit’s fabrication facility in Marystown, was hanging about the Peninsula Mall during a week off.
Government could have employed people here and recouped money through taxes, he said.
“I think it was a stupid move for them to do that,” he said.
Fizzard believes the province could do a better job at eco-
of nomic diversity.
In the Big Land, Luann Rose of Goose Bay agrees, saying the province must put money into other aspects of Labrador besides mining.
“The mines will only last for a while, the people will last forever, as long as they have a means to survive,” she said.
Labradorians aren’t afraid of change, Rose added, but welcome it.
“We once had the fishery and then that was gone. Then we had the mines and now that is slowly being defeated by high operating costs. As a province, we need to band together once again to find a new way to survive,” she said.
Deanne Power of Labrador City said there isn’t an easy answer.
“Without mining or a big employer, this economy will falter,” she said.
“Our economy would not attract enough investment to diversify to support the cost of living here.”
At the College of the North Atlantic’s campus in Grand FallsWindsor, Darrell Gardiner sees a way forward.
“I think as we move towards a more business-mined economy and away from primarily relying on the oil and fishing industries, there will be other avenues through which individuals can acquire employment,” he said.
Rob Hillier, who works at the campus, would like to see more opportunities. His perspective changed significantly after spending three years in Toronto, he said.
“I’ve been to a place where there’s everything in the world, every opportunity in the world, and coming back here I see challenges — short-term and longterm — but I’m really concerned with the long-term,” he said.
Back on the Burin Peninsula, Rosalind Brushett works behind the counter of a store in the Marystown Mall.
The Burin resident was interested in what the political parties will do to create jobs outside of oil.
“If they dropped the business tax a bit, it might help with the economy more,” she said.