Ship­yard still in neu­tral

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - HOT ONLINE - BY DAVE STEWART

The lights aren’t go­ing back on any­time soon for the province’s only ship build­ing fa­cil­ity but there may be a glim­mer of hope on the hori­zon.

The Irv­ing-owned East Isle ship­yard has been dark for the past four years.

Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Heath Mac­Don­ald said his depart­ment re­cently hosted a Euro­pean del­e­ga­tion in an at­tempt to cre­ate some in­ter­est in cre­at­ing work for the Georgetown fa­cil­ity.

Mac­Don­ald said the ef­fort was about bring­ing “to­gether tech­ni­cal peo­ple that build dif­fer­ent parts of ships, get them talk­ing and hope­fully have it work to our ad­van­tage’’ and have parts of ships man­u­fac­tured in Georgetown.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Steven My­ers, who rep­re­sents the Georgetown-St. Peters dis­trict, said the ship­yard needs to be up and run­ning again so peo­ple can get back to work.

Dur­ing ques­tion pe­riod in the P.E.I. leg­is­la­ture Fri­day, My­ers ac­knowl­edges that the ship­yard is pri­vately owned by pointed out to the min­is­ter that the Nova Sco­tia gov­ern­ment in­vested more than $200 mil­lion into the Hal­i­fax ship­yard and the New Brunswick gov­ern­ment is putting money into the Cara­quet yard.

Mac­Don­ald said there are other pos­si­ble op­tions out there.

He said the St. Lawrence fleet is up for re­fit, there are coast guard ships presently on the docket to be built fed­er­ally and Irv­ing Oil has a tug­boat com­pany in Que­bec that is in­ter­ested in do­ing more work in Georgetown.

“We’re go­ing to be ag­gres­sive with this,’’ Mac­Don­ald said. “There are some op­por­tu­ni­ties there . . . hope­fully, we can be ag­gres­sive enough to take ad­van­tage of that. We, more than any­body, want to see that (ship­yard) in op­er­a­tion.’’

My­ers said Mac­Don­ald needs to keep in mind that P.E.I. isn’t the only ju­ris­dic­tion talk­ing to these com­pa­nies.

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