Weather warriors

Steve Bartlett
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Wind the biggest obstacle in constructing Fogo Island Inn

Russ Petten, construction manager, and Dave Torraville, construction supervisor.

What's it like building a five-star inn of contemporary design on a cliff facing the North Atlantic in mid-February?

"Trying, very trying," says Russ Petten, construction manager at the Fogo Island Inn site in Barr'd Islands.

"The wind is the challenge, not so much the winter. The winds are up there are all winter long and there are days when they get up to 80 to 100 kilometres an hour."

Petten says you can dress for rain, snow and even the dark. But not wind. When wicked wintry winds blew off the ocean, it resulted in slow production days.

"We pretty much had to shut down on days like that," Petten says. "The wind? Unless you build a big box around this, there's no getting out of it."

The weather is but one of the challenges.

The province's booming economy has made it hard to find subcontractors as well as skilled labour, a problem that was addressed by hiring and training locals.

Getting materials across on the ferry also involved some co-ordination.

The Shorefast Foundation wants the landscape left as pristine as possible. There were even restrictions on how wide the site's access road could be.

Organizations: Fogo Island Inn, Shorefast Foundation

Geographic location: North Atlantic, Fogo Island, Conception Bay Yellowknife Deep Bay St. John's

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