To build or not to build?

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Each day I fail to hear an announcement the third provincial government ferry vessel will be constructed at the Kiewit Offshore facility in Marystown, is another day I fear our provincial government is content to wait ...


Each day I fail to hear an announcement the third provincial government ferry vessel will be constructed at the Kiewit Offshore facility in Marystown, is another day I fear our provincial government is content to wait, on helping to ensure the survival of the rich and important history of shipbuilding, and allow it to die a slow death in Marystown.

The first boats built in the area may have been modelled from Basque fishermen’s vessels, and during the 1840s the construction of schooner-rigged crafts of 20-30 tons, then other types of ships including draggers and tugs.

Ship construction is a specialized craft and it has been said some of the best boats and ships, including vessels for our offshore oil and gas industry, were built in Marystown.

It has also been said many of the best boat and shipbuilders in the world have worked and are still working in Marystown, and are very capable of passing their skills on to another generation of shipbuilders.

Kiewit and the provincial government has to ensure this important part of our heritage and culture remains intact by agreeing to construct all of the required ferry vessels for our NL government at the Marystown facilities.

It would mean a huge loss to the local economy if shipbuilding on the Burin Peninsula disappeared.

Newfoundland and Labrador must have its own provincial shipbuilding policy and Marystown must continue to be a major player.

Everett Farwell,


Geographic location: Marystown, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Debbie
    October 24, 2012 - 20:19

    Everett, I read with bated breath while reading your letter, for you to mention the effects of the Possible loss of the Ferry building as detrimental to the local economy. (not your exact words) but point well taken. This past summer Maystown has enjoyed the presence of some 300 to 600 workers while the Terra Nova was at Keiwit for refitting. My husband was one of the workers. I visited and loved Marystown on the Labour day weekend ! The one thing I noticed that may keep your local economy from flourishing and benefitting when the facitily is flushed with people, is the lack of business sense and availability of services to spend all that extra income on and help the local economy.(.lets face it they make offshore wages from 6 am to 6 pm daily!) There is nothing much open in Martystown past 6 pm! On the labour Day Monday, The only restaurant in Marystown that seemed to be most popular and flat out with business amongst the workers.....Closed! It's almost laughable. The mayor should see what he can do to Boost the local economy. The only hair salon we could find that was open past 6......., Closed Friday night of the long weekend early! Mary's town could benefit froma good Chamber of Commerce for sure! It's just lovely there scenery wise, with the beaches and quaint little craft store I found.(Open til 9 every night of the week)..the owner is from Nova Scotia) Just sayin...

  • Don
    October 17, 2012 - 08:51

    wake up and smell the coffe Everett. that shipyard hasn been nothing but a place to get your stamps. no one cares! I moved from Ontario back in 1996 with the hopes of full time employment at the yard. worst mistake i ever made. I worked 3 months on the White Rose project (laid off several times during those 3 months) and another 3 months when the Henry Goodrich was in. I now work in Alberta and if I could convince my family to move, I would do it in a second. Thank God for the oilsands!!!!!!

    • Debbie
      October 24, 2012 - 20:30

      Don , one of the reasons you had so much hard luck in achieveing your dreams back here is the overall apathy of the "Fighting newfoundlanders" here. In reality, the Government makes decisions on where best to put their money and Marystown is just not able to benefit most from projects. I agree, the people there don't care beyond getting their stamps.So many historic events that they (Everett)are mourning over but not the business sense to act on rallying for what He/they , say is important. Is it history,culture,economical benefit,...........future. Having said that and being social minded like yourself, the oil sands may be something we don't agree on...other than paying you deservingly good wages, I've gleened it is a bit of an environmental concern....all the very best to you and your family back here!