Nfld. & Labrador

Kiewit locking up Marystown site, worrying hundreds of workers and local MHAs

A spokesperson for Kiewit said opportunities for work at the Cow Head facility in the short-term have 'diminished significantly'.

Company downplays talk about possible Statoil project in 2019

Kiewet said "due to the realities of the marketplace, opportunities for work in the short-term have diminished significantly." (Kiewit)

A spokesperson for Kiewit Offshore Services said on Friday that opportunities for work at the Cow Head facility in the short-term future have 'diminished significantly'.

On Thursday the local union president told CBC News there is hope for a possible project with Statoil in 2019 but Kiewit said it does not have any future work lined up in Marystown. 

"Our current operations will conclude at the end of the month," Kiewit said in an email to CBC News

"We will continue to look for opportunities to bring work to the facility."

The statement from the company said the site has been an important part of its operations since 2002.

Worried about impact

Union officials and two Liberal MHAs are worried about the impact of the shutdown on people in the area.  

"We have 700-plus union members," said Rick Farrell, president of Unifor Local 20.

"Every trade imaginable. A work force that goes from Lamaline down as far as Terrenceville. So all these communities are affected."

Rick Farrell, union president: 'Our biggest concern is that we can't afford to be off three years up here in Marystown.' (Elizabeth Hoath/CBC)

MHA reaction

In a press release Friday, the MHA for Placentia West-Bellevue, Mark Browne, said he reached out to Kiewit officials to hold a meeting to discuss what the future holds. 

"I am concerned," he said. "But wish to reassure residents that I am working alongside my colleagues and in conjunction with UNIFOR MWF Local 20 to determine Kiewit's future plans."

Browne's colleague Carol Anne Haley, MHA for Burin–Grand Bank, expressed similar concerns, adding that the shipyard has played an important role as an employer on the Burin Peninsula.

Liberal MHAs Mark Browne and Carol Anne Haley have both said they're concerned about the closure. (Liberal Party of NL)

"Many constituents within my district have a long history of employment at the facility," she said.

"I am prepared to work with my colleagues to ensure a rejuvenated shipyard becomes a reality."

Harsh reality

Workers finished up the last major project, building the Hebron drilling support module, in December 2015.

The news of the Cow Head closure doesn't come as a total shock, but it's still a harsh reality to accept for the hundreds of families who have grown used to steady pay from a job close to home. 

The union said it will hold a meeting in the near future to try and figure out where to go from here.