Shipyard still in neutral
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.