Putting the boots to ’em

Contract awarded to N.L. plant to make footwear for Canadian Forces

Ashley Fitzpatrick afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com
Published on March 27, 2014
About 28,000 pairs of the boots pictured here will be manufactured in Harbour Grace by Kodiak Group Holdings under a new contract with the federal government.
— Photo courtesy of the Department of National Defence

Later this spring, the Terra Nova Shoes factory in Harbour Grace, operated as a subsidiary of Kodiak Group Holdings, will begin producing boots for the Canadian Forces under a new contract with the federal government.

The contract is for 28,000 pairs of boots and valued at about $4.2 million. The boots are scheduled to be in use in 2015.

“Today’s announcement is another example of how this government continues to support its military men and women while creating a stronger economy for years to come,” said Minister of State Gary Goodyear, in a notice of the contract award, issued Friday by the federal government.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news for the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian industry,” added Minister of National Defence Rob Nicholson.

“Our soldiers deserve modern, reliable and effective military equipment and clothing to meet future national and global missions. These contracts reflect our commitment to our military while maintaining Canadian jobs,” he said.

According to the federal government statement, the Kodiak Group contract will create eight new jobs and allow 75 positions to be kept at the plant.

The Telegram attempted to reach a representative for Kodiak Group Holdings for comment, but was unable to do so as of deadline.

Yet Harbour Grace mayor Terry Barnes was pleased with the news. “That’s good stuff,” he said, optimistic for the manufacturing business.

He said the last he had heard of the operation was of layoffs in 2010 not long after an expansion of the factory.

The provincial government provided an $8 million, interest-free loan for a 30,000-square-foot expansion to the then-70,000- square-foot plant in 2008, repayable over 10 years. It was expected to spur as many as 50 new hires.

The loan was criticized in 2010, when 59 jobs were cut from the plant due to slow business, bringing the total employed to 105. The cuts were tied in part to the global economic downturn.

One factor also cited for the layoffs was fewer federal government contracts, like the one awarded this past week.  

In addition to the boots in Harbour Grace, the federal government has ordered 52,000 pairs of boots from L.P. Royer, to be manufactured in Quebec under a contract valued at $7.5 million.