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Economic analysis shows northern peninsula port project could be 'transformative'

Crémaillère Harbour is located approximately four kilometres south of St. Anthony. GOOGLE MAPS
Crémaillère Harbour is located approximately four kilometres south of St. Anthony. — Google Maps
ST. ANTHONY, N.L. —

A proposed industrial and marine port in St. Anthony could have significant economic and social impacts for the region, according to a report recently released. 

The Crémaillère Harbour project by Great Northern Port Inc. (GNP) was the subject of an Economic Impact Analysis report prepared by Dr. Wade Locke and Daniel Moore of the Department of Economics at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Collaborative Applied Research in Economics (CARE) Initiative. 

Economist Wade Locke, one of the authors of the report, said it could have significant impacts for the region. — SaltWire Network file photo
Economist Wade Locke, one of the authors of the report, said it could have significant impacts for the region. — SaltWire Network file photo

Locke told SaltWire that not only would the economic benefits of the project 41. Km south of St,. Anthony be significant, it would help address the issue of population decline the Great Northern Peninsula is facing. 

“This has the potential to offer a fairly substantial increase of employment that would see some of the communities be sustainable for a longer period of time,” Locke told SaltWire. “It’s an opportunity that could be created for them.”

The report looked at two scenarios, one with an air to fuels subproject and one without. Locke said in one scenario it could bring 500 jobs a year and in the other 350, neither of which is insignificant.

He referenced the Harris Centre’s regional population projection’s done on the region in 2016, showing a 40 per cent decline in the population of the Great Northern Peninsula in 20 years.

“It has the potential to make a difference in an area of the province that is struggling and we had the expertise to do this kind of work,” he said. 

Locke stressed they were not looking at the viability of the business case nor are they affiliated with the company proposing the project, simply providing an economic impact analysis.

He said when they were approached to the 14-month research project they did it because it could be transformative for the region and it’s important to understand the context of a project like this.

The report says the total GDP impacts are estimated at $180 million for construction and $70 million for a typical year of operations. In a 10-year period, a 25-year period and a 35-year period, GDP impacts have been calculated to be $220 million, $1,240 million, and $1,920 million, respectively.

Dan Villeneuve, President and CEO of GNP, told SaltWire he was very proud and happy to be associated with this initiative and the research report. — SaltWire Network file photo
Dan Villeneuve, President and CEO of GNP, told SaltWire he was very proud and happy to be associated with this initiative and the research report. — SaltWire Network file photo

 

Locke said it has the potential for supplying offshore oil and gas projects, for the military and for resource developments in the north.  

Dan Villeneuve, President and CEO of GNP, told SaltWire he was very proud and happy to be to be associated with this initiative and the research report. 

“(It) gives us a credible, scientific and academic lead analysis that supports our proposal to being a strong new business driver to the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Villeneuve said. 

He said the report supports that the project could be a strategic driver for the economic re-vitalization of the entire region and the report also gives them a model to help assess the value of any changes they make to the business development plans in the future.

Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald of Roddickton-Bide Arm is also pretty happy with the conclusions in the report and feels it could have an impact on the whole region.

“It wouldn’t only help St. Anthony, it would be a means of revitalizing the communities outside of the town as well,” she said. “I think there would be spin-off benefits to my area.”

She said reading the report reinforced all the thoughts that she had on the possibility of the project going ahead and the report was a sign of hope.

Roddickton-Bide Arm mayor Sheila Fitzgerald. — Contributed
Roddickton-Bide Arm mayor Sheila Fitzgerald. — Contributed

“Population projects show that because of the declining birth rates, outmigration, and if things didn’t move, if we have no economic stimulus, 40 per cent of our population will be gone. We’re only 14,000 to start with so that’s quite startling to us.”

Project in limbo?

The project was slated to begin construction this year but appears to be currently held up. The company says it is waiting on approval from Crown lands on the application for the 473 hectares of land and 35-hectare water lot.

SaltWire contacted the provincial government regarding the project and was told by the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, the department responsible for handling Crown land applications, the provincial government is waiting on GNP.

“The Provincial Government is still waiting for the proponent to provide further information requested in November 2019 regarding a business case analysis and the status of Environmental Assessment requirements,” the statement read.

The project was released from Environmental Assessment in June of 2019 with four main conditions related to pollution prevention, impact on wildlife, traffic impact, and submission of an Environmental Protection Plan for each of the three phases of the project.

Villeneuve told SaltWire when asked about the application they have met the obligation with the Department of Environment and the undertaking was released from any further environmental assessment. 

Evan Careen is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter covering Labrador for SaltWire Network.


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