Infrastructure will fuel development: businessman

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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Labrador businessman Peter Woodward says if companies in Newfoundland don't take advantage of business potential in Labrador, other companies will. — Photo by Daniel MacEachern/The Telegram

Peter Woodward doesn't have to imagine what improved infrastructure can do for Labrador.

Better roads means faster development and reduced costs, the vice-president of operations for the Woodward Group of Cos. told the audience during a panel discussion at Northern Exposure, a Labrador business conference and trade show, Wednesday at the Delta Hotel in St. John's. Residents benefit, he said.

"When I grew up, we flew milk in on 737s. We flew all the fresh fruit in," he said. "It cost a fortune. You were lucky to find a good apple. You were lucky to find a good orange. All of that has changed dramatically."

Woodward credited investment over the years from the provincial government.

"Now it's time, in my opinion, for the province to start looking at yields coming back, and there's lots of challenges when it comes to those yields. Because the best connection we have right now is the other way. It's west to Quebec and Ontario, and it's west to major supply points like Montreal, Toronto."

Companies and suppliers in Newfoundland shouldn't take business in Labrador for granted, he said, noting a recent purchase of tractors his company made in St. John's.

"It gnawed on me that I have a couple-thousand-dollar bill to move them from St. John's to Goose Bay," he said.

"And I guess my message in that is that if you're going to overcome the competition - and there's going to be lots of it - if people on the island don't do something with respect to looking at how they can get involved in these projects, others will. If you expect that you're going to ship it to a warehouse in St. John's, and somebody's going to buy it off of you in Muskrat or Churchill Falls or Labrador City or Nain, it ain't going to happen. You're not going to happen."

The good news, said Woodward, is that companies will set up shop in Labrador will find a lot of opportunity. "We're underserviced in just about everything. I'm not afraid of competition," he said. "We do want more people to live in Labrador. We want to build communities there. It's a great place to live. There are lots of great things to do. It's a great place to raise a family."

Organizations: Delta Hotel

Geographic location: Labrador, St. John's, Quebec Ontario Montreal Toronto Goose Bay Muskrat

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  • NL TURF
    January 24, 2013 - 22:43

    I won't comment on the Woodwards , as I really don't know what went on in the Goose for the past 40 years. Suffice to say, most every NFLDER pretty well knows the Woodwards, were a major employer in that area , to this day, for many, many years.Good on them!! One thing I do know is that IOC - RIO TINTO - has been hauling out millions of tons of iron ore , concentrate and pelllets , out of our Province for the past 60 years. Fortunes have been made , over and over again , by Senior Executive , CEO's, Shareholders , etc,etc. ,and that's ok by me. A one company town who offers a great wage for producing a profitable product!! I worked there in 1979 until 1983 and a major promise that was not kept by the Company and the Provincial Government was a - NEW HOSPITAL !!!!! RIO TINTO should build the hospital OUTRIGHT , seeing the profits that have left that area for the past 60 years. It really is unbelievable that Labrador City doesn't have a new hospital. Labrador City citizens should be up in arms!!! And when the ore is gone, so are RIO TINTO!!

  • Corporate Psycho
    January 24, 2013 - 15:12

    Hey Keith, if u want to know who will get the contracts I suggest checking out penashue's campaign contributors.

  • Keith
    January 24, 2013 - 12:19

    I guess what you really meant to say was that there will be more money for the Woodward Group of Companies. It seems that the Woodwards have almost all Government contracts in Labrador and are getting greedy for more. I guess time will tell who gets the most from the contracts that are allotted.

  • Jack
    January 24, 2013 - 10:33

    I agree with Mr. Woodward that Labrador needs better road, especially with their existing paved and gravel highways. For example, the Newfoundland and Labrador Government needs to speed up efforts to entirely pave the Trans Labrador Highway, especially from Happy Valley - Goose Bay to Red Bay, and fix the rut filled paved section from the Labradro/Quebec Border to Red Bay. The Quebec Government has to do their part with Highway 138 extension from Natashquan and Kegasha to Blanc Sablon in order to grow Quebec and Labrador's natural resources sector.

  • Cold Future
    January 24, 2013 - 09:40

    Wondering does it knaw at anybody in Labrador that folks in St.John's and on the island are substantially on the hook to pay up for the Muskrat although substantial benefits will be flowing into Labrador and Labrador business pockets.

    • Robert
      January 24, 2013 - 10:25

      About time I would say and that's coming from a townie. There have been many many years when if it wasn't for revenues flowing in from Labrador we would have been broke. And one of these days people might understand the difference between paying for an asset (MF) and paying for government services.