Transportation and Works
August 20, 2007

Marine Branch Begins Move to Lewisporte

The Department of Transportation and Works is moving forward with the establishment of marine headquarters in Lewisporte.

The Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Transportation and Works, is pleased with the recent announcement of the new Assistant Deputy Minister for Marine Services, Paul Alexander. "With the new assistant deputy minister in place, we will move forward aggressively with our transition to the new organizational structure which will see the creation of a new marine branch with Lewisporte as our base for marine operations," said Minister Hickey.

Minister Hickey also pointed out that the Director of Operations for marine services has been hired and recruitment is ongoing for the Director of Engineering and the Marine Safety Compliancy Officer positions. A tender for space in Lewisporte to house the new marine branch was recently awarded.

The department announced in July 2006 it was moving marine operations to Lewisporte because of its location as a base of operations for the Labrador marine service and the central point of the ferry services on the north east coast of the island.

"This is part of the restructuring of our marine services which will put the providers of the service in closer contact with the users," said Minister Hickey. "The users are in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, so it is appropriate to have the providers in rural Newfoundland and Labrador."

The Honourable Tom Rideout, MHA for Lewisporte District said, "I am pleased we were able to have the headquarters for the marine services branch moved to Lewisporte and the appointment of the new assistant deputy minister in Lewisporte will go a long way toward facilitating the movement of the branch. This is an important step for the district and will bring many economic benefits to the region."

The department anticipates opening the marine branch in Lewisporte in September.

The Williams Government is in the process of revitalizing the provincial ferry fleet. As part of the ongoing Vessel Replacement Strategy, the Provincial Government will invest $25 million to build two new ferries here in the province with construction slated to begin this year. This project will create approximately 330,000 person hours of employment. The Provincial Government also plans to build another three vessels over the next five years.

In addition to investing in ferry construction, in Budget 2007 the Williams Government injected $10.3 million for refits of government-owned ferry vessels and $5 million for maintenance and capital construction of terminals and wharfs. Also, as part of Budget 2007, the Provincial Government announced in March it will invest $1.5 million to reduce ferry rates, bringing them in line with road equivalency.


Media contact:

Tanya Simms
Communications Specialist
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-1758, 693-4908

2007 08 20                                                     11:20 a.m.

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