Depressed demand in construction and other industries has prompted boot maker Kodiak to eliminate almost five dozen jobs at a high-end manufacturing plant in eastern Newfoundland.
Terra Nova Shoes is letting go of 59 employees, parent company Kodiak Group Holdings said in a statement.
"We deeply regret having to make this announcement, however it reflects the stark reality of difficult market conditions in industrial footwear," president Kevin Huckle said in a statement.
"Market demand for work boots during the economic downturn, as well as orders from the Department of National Defence, have dropped significantly … Unfortunately, today's strong Canadian dollar gives our import competitors a tremendous advantage, especially when they're selling to major retailers who are also our key customers."
Harbour Grace Mayor Don Coombs said he fears the job losses will not be temporary.
"[We] are prepared to go lobby for extra contracts, we're prepared to go to DND. I'm prepared to set up meetings to see if we can bring the business back and get these people back to work," he said in an interview Friday.
"But the layoff seems like a permanent thing, and unless that happens, I can't see the people getting back to work."
Kodiak bought Terra Nova in 2005. Terra Nova manufactures high-quality workboots that have also had crossover success with the fashion industry and trendy consumers.
Employment at the plant will be dropping to about 105 workers.
Kodiak said Terra Nova Shoes will now focus on new products, including a push to lure more military orders. As well, Kodiak plans to launch a new line under its Dickies brand in 2011.
In 2008, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced an $8 million interest-free loan to Terra Nova Shoes to permit an expansion that was expected to also bring about 50 jobs.