Nearly 2,000 extra workers will be in Saint John for the next six weeks for the Irving oil refinery turnaround.
The workers are expected to have a big impact on the city’s economy. Irving Oil claims it will spur $41 million in consumer spending in the next month and a half, although that would work out to about $24,000 per person.
Joe Whitney is doing his part. The Sarnia, Ont., man bought a Mustang spontaneously.
“Well, I was bored one day because we came down a week early [and] had five days off,” he explained. “Went out for a test drive and they gave me a good deal I couldn't refuse.”
Kevin Scott of Irving Oil said the extra 1,700 people are needed for round-the-clock work.
"It's a pretty intense period, so people are working 12-hour shifts and a lot of them are working seven days a week,” he said. “They're really looking for lots of meals, quick accommodations and convenient things."
Stephen Beatteay of the Saint John Construction Association said most of those people are from New Brunswick:
"They spend local. That creates a multiplier effect in the local economy and the local area,” said Beatteay. “Even the folks who come from outside the area, they still have to buy perishables — food, lodgings, gas — so there's money they leave behind."
Melanie Pitre is renting rooms in her East Saint John home.
“Busy to the point where for the past week and a half I've had four boarders. Just last night, maybe ten more calls. So people are coming in, pouring in, very fast into the city, without a place to stay,” she said.
The turnaround will last until late April.