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.



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