Economic Analysis Shows Northern Peninsula Port Project Could Be ‘Transformative’

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ST. ANTHONY, NL – An industrial and marine port project in St. Anthony could have significant economic and social impacts for the region, according to a recently released report.

The Great Northern Port Inc. (GNP) Rack and Pinion Port project 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 report’s authors, said it could have significant impacts for the region. – Photo from SaltWire Network file

Locke told SaltWire that not only would the economic benefits of the project being 25 miles south of St. Anthony be significant, it would help address the problem of population decline facing the Great Northern Peninsula.

“This has the potential to offer a pretty substantial increase in employment that would allow some communities to be viable longer,” Locke told SaltWire. “It’s an opportunity that could be created for them.

The report examined two scenarios, one with an air-fuels sub-project and the other without. Locke said that in one scenario it could create 500 jobs per year and in the other 350, none of which is insignificant.

He referred to the Harris Center regional population projections made over the region in 2016, showing a 40% decline in the population of the Great Northern Peninsula in 20 years.

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

Locke stressed that they were not examining the viability of the business case and were not affiliated with the company proposing the project, simply providing an economic impact analysis.

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

The report states that the total impacts on GDP are estimated at $ 180 million for construction and $ 70 million for a typical year of operation. Over a 10-year period, a 25-year period, and a 35-year period, the impacts on GDP were calculated at $ 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.  - Photo from SaltWire Network file
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. – Photo from SaltWire Network file

Locke said he has the potential to deliver offshore oil and gas projects, for the military and for resource development in the north.

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.

“(This) gives us a credible scientific and academic analysis that supports our proposition to be a strong new business engine for the northern peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Villeneuve said.

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

Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald of Roddickton-Bide Arm is also quite pleased with the report’s findings and believes it could impact the entire region.

“It would not only help St. Anthony, it would also be a way to revitalize communities outside of town,” she said. “I think there would be beneficial spinoffs for my region. “

She said reading the report reinforced any thoughts she had about the possibility of continuing with the project and that 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 due to falling birth rates, emigration and if things don’t change, if we don’t have economic stimulus, 40% of our population will disappear. We are only 14,000 at the start, so it’s quite surprising for us.

Project in limbo?

The project was due to start construction this year, but appears to be currently being delayed. The company says it is awaiting Crown land approval for the application for the 473 hectares of land and the 35 hectare water body.

SaltWire has contacted the provincial government about the project and has been advised by the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, the department responsible for processing applications for Crown land, that the provincial government is awaiting GNP.

“The provincial government is still waiting for the proponent to provide additional information requested in November 2019 regarding a business case and the status of environmental assessment requirements,” the release said.

The project was released from environmental assessment in June 2019 with four main conditions related to pollution prevention, impact on wildlife, impact on traffic, and submission of an environmental protection plan. environment for each of the three phases of the project.

Villeneuve told SaltWire, when asked about the request, that they have fulfilled the obligation with the Department of the Environment and that the company has been released from any further environmental assessment.

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



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