The mayor of Marystown says he’s surprised and disappointed that Kiewit Offshore Services has withdrawn from the competition for a national program to replace navy and coast guard ships.
Mayor Sam Synard said today he was told Friday that Kiewit, which owns the Marystown shipyard, had withdrawn its name from the running to be one of two “centre of excellence” shipbuilding yards, part of a $35-billion overhaul of Canadian maritime infrastructure.
“What they said … is that they were sort of stretched with human resources trying to get a qualified bid team on the job. They’ve almost become too successful, to some degree,” he said. “It’s a strange thing to say, but Kiewit is the major player now in Long Harbour, they’re going to be the prime contractor for the Hebron job, the (gravity-based structure) job. I’m sure they’re going to look at the Lower Churchill. So they’ve become probably the biggest single contractor in the province.”
Synard said while the community had high hopes to land the work, he said Kiewit had to make a tough business decision.
“We’ve got a good relationship with Kiewit officials. They’ve been very good to our community,” he said. “I expect their right to make business decisions, that’s their prerogative. They’re good at what they do, they’re a great business. They’ve been in business 125 years and they’ve never had a losing year; that says a lot about how they manage their company.”
But the president of the local Canadian Auto Workers branch, Wayne Butler, was much more critical of Kiewit’s decision.
“We fought hard as a union. We fought hard to ensure that Kiewit was recognized as one of the shortlist bidders on this whole project,” he said. “It was a project that certainly would have ensured not only the future of the yard in Marystown but the future of the community in Marystown. It certainly would have been a big benefit to the province itself.”