nl-best-fred-2006file

Mayor Fred Best: 'There's a lot of people in this area without a doubt who was looking forward to getting one of those jobs.' ((CBC))

The mayor of Clarenville fears his town will be shut out of the Newfoundland and Labrador vessel replacement program.

Clarenville Drydock was the major subcontractor for two ferries being built for the province but the company withdrew unexpectedly from the project earlier this month.

All of the work is instead going to the Marystown Shipyard. Clarenville Drydock had been pegged to receive about $7.5 million of the $50.5-million project, and about 50 of the 200 jobs.

Clarenville Mayor Fred Best said many people in his community are disappointed.

"There's a lot of people in this area without a doubt who was looking forward to getting one of those jobs," Best said.

Best is wondering what will happen when the next three boats in the vessel replacement strategy are built.

"What we're hearing might only be a glitch and some arrangements can be made to get us back on course again — that's my fondest hope at this time," Best told CBC News.

Transportation Minister Trevor Taylor said Clarenville Drydock could not finalize an agreement with the primary contractor, Peter Kiewit Sons, in Marystown. Taylor said doing all the work in Marystown will save the province money.

"We expected an adjustment downward in the price in the order of a minimum of $2 million, and we should have that finalized shortly," he said.

Best doesn't want all the future vessel replacement work to go to Marystown. He is promising to get to the bottom of what happened and try to prevent it from happening again.