APEC releases inventory of major projects

Moira Baird
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Newfoundland and Labrador leads the list among Atlantic provinces

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) released its annual inventory of major projects in the region - and more than half the developments are scheduled to take place in the province.

The inventory tracks 343 of the Atlantic region's largest investment projects that are valued at a combined $72 billion.

Nora Duke, president and CEO of Fortis Properties, was among the panelists for the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council meeting. Photo by Moira Baird/The Telegram

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) released its annual inventory of major projects in the region - and more than half the developments are scheduled to take place in the province.

The inventory tracks 343 of the Atlantic region's largest investment projects that are valued at a combined $72 billion.

APEC unveiled its list during a lunchtime briefing Tuesday in St. John's.

Topping the Newfoundland and Labrador portion of the list are offshore oil and mining projects, including as the ongoing $3.5-billion White Rose expansion, a $2.8-billion nickel processing plant at Long Harbour and the planned $1.74-billion Hibernia South development.

"In this province, the energy and mining projects are some of the biggest drivers," said David Chaundy, APEC's senior economist.

Those sectors account for almost two-thirds of the 90 projects in the province.

"We've got current projects going on with the White Rose expansion," he said. "On the mining side and related manufacturing, we've got the Vale Inco processing facility which is starting to ramp up this year and into next year."

One cloud on the economic horizon is the prospect of rising costs for labour and materials as oilsands projects pick up again in Western Canada.

"This was a big issue two or three years ago before we had the global recession and credit crisis," Chaundy said.

Prices for commodities, such as oil and metals, are also expected to rise - also driving up costs for labour and materials.

"We saw quite a big issue two or three years with those prices filtering through to higher material costs. That was a big concern for a number of projects, and so it's quite likely ... some of those cost pressures are beginning to re-emerge.

"The same situation on the labour side. Concerns about labour shortages, out-migration to Western Canada was a big concern a couple of years ago.

"As we start to see a revival in Western Canada ... those cost pressures and labour pressures are likely to resurface fairly quickly."

The Lower Churchill hydro project has been on the APEC's major projects list for a number of years.

"There's still a lot of work to be done on that. It's still going through the environmental process," Chaundy said.

He said 2011 is the earliest date the project could be given the go-ahead by Nalcor Energy and the province.

"There's still some work to be done before they can make that decision. I think they're still very committed to wanting to move ahead with that project."

Nora Duke, president and CEO of Fortis Properties, was among the panellists at the APEC briefing.

She reiterated the company's decision not to build a $75-million, 15-storey office tower in downtown St. John's.

Duke said the office building project faced many challenges, including municipal development regulations.

"We did choose to withdraw that application. The project is dropped.

"Instead, we will be focusing on the retrofit of our existing building."

Duke estimated the cost of refurbishing the 10-storey Fortis building at $15 million to $20 million.

mbaird@thetelegram.com

Organizations: APEC, Fortis Properties

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, White Rose Western Canada Long Harbour Hibernia South

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Recent comments

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Notice how out of all the people who spoke the crack Tely news team drops Ms. duke's photo, and comments into the story. In the hope that it might generate some interest. Goes to what the letter writer in yesterday's paper was pointing out. When there is no news, you have to manufacture some.

  • Jordan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Duke estimated the cost of refurbishing the 10-storey Fortis building at $15 million to $20 million.

    That will be quite the retrofit when you consider that the office building at 351 Water Street will cost $40 million.

    Hopefully all these project will go ahead in the coming years and that we will see some of the delayed ones, including the two refineries in Placentia the second expansion and IOC and of course the Lower Churchill, go ahead.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Notice how out of all the people who spoke the crack Tely news team drops Ms. duke's photo, and comments into the story. In the hope that it might generate some interest. Goes to what the letter writer in yesterday's paper was pointing out. When there is no news, you have to manufacture some.

  • Jordan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Duke estimated the cost of refurbishing the 10-storey Fortis building at $15 million to $20 million.

    That will be quite the retrofit when you consider that the office building at 351 Water Street will cost $40 million.

    Hopefully all these project will go ahead in the coming years and that we will see some of the delayed ones, including the two refineries in Placentia the second expansion and IOC and of course the Lower Churchill, go ahead.