Hebron module contract awarded to Marystown shipyard

The project will span over a two-year period, creating up to 500 high-paying jobs.

The contract to build a Hebron module has been awarded to the Kiewit fabrication yard in Marystown. 

The project will take two years and could create up to 500 high-paying jobs.

Activity at the yard is expected to ramp up soon with construction beginning as early as March.

Landing the contract has injected some much-needed optimism into Marystown – and the Burin Peninsula.

Marystown Mayor Sam Synard hopes the Hebron contract will bring people home to stay. Several thousand Burin Peninsula residents regularly commute to and from Alberta.

"This job now at the Cow Head site, and some at the shipyard in Marystown as well you know, will take some of that strain off," said Synard. "It will make us you know, sort of a 'king of our own destiny' to some degree, so people have the choice to go away to Alberta versus working in Marystown."

Shipyard union representative Wayne Brake hopes the work doesn't follow what he terms 'the usual pattern.'

"Usually a job was finished and then you're down perhaps for a year, a year and a half," said Brake. "I hope that [doesn't] happen after this job. People are still a bit skeptical until they hear that something else is following this, right?"

For businessman Jack Brenton, Tuesday's announcement was music to his ears. Brenton expects direct work for his company through construction of the module and he's excited about the economic impact that work will have on the area.

"It creates a spin-off in the economy for supplies for the project," said Brenton. "It creates labour, it enables families to, you know, workers to come back home and to work for a period of a couple of years, stay with their families instead of going out west."

Mixed reaction

News of the module work has brought mixed reaction from some local business owners who anticipate issues with the economic boost.

John Pittman owns a tattoo shop in the Marystown Mall. Pittman has concerns that the oil money will create a 'mini Fort Mac' in Marystown – complete with the good and the bad.

"Yes there's a lot of local people going to be coming home to go to work at the yard," said Pittman. "But with more people here, more money here, you know [the] crime rate does increase, the drug problem increases."

Shipyard workers will need a place to live, putting pressure on the local housing market.

"It's also bad for the rental situation, the housing market here in Marystown, rental properties, the rent is going sky high," said Pittman.