Transportation and Works
January 17, 2008

Minister Officially Opens New Marine Services Branch in Lewisporte

The Department of Transportation and Works has officially opened its new Marine Services branch in Lewisporte.

The Honourable Dianne Whalen, Minister of Transportation and Works, was on hand for the opening ceremonies today at the headquarters on Fairview Road in Lewisporte.

"Lewisporte is well-positioned as the primary base of operations for the Provincial Government�s Marine Services branch," said Minister Whalen. "Lewisporte is an essential base of operations for the Labrador Marine Service and is the central point of the ferry services on the North East Coast of the island. This move puts the providers of the service in closer contact with the users, who are primarily in rural Newfoundland and Labrador."

Previously, Marine Services had been combined with the roads branch, in a general transportation division at the department�s main offices in St. John�s.

The Provincial Government invested approximately $630,000 in Budget 2007 to establish the headquarters and hire additional staff. The process began in late August 2007 when the department hired a new Assistant Deputy Minister for Marine Services. There are currently nine employees in Lewisporte with another seven positions to be filled. Additionally, there are five employees stationed in St. John�s and two in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Wade Verge, MHA for the Lewisporte district, said the new Marine Services headquarters will be an economic boost to the area. "It is great to be part of a government that believes in investing their resources in and sharing their decision-making authority with rural Newfoundland," said Mr. Verge.

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 upwards of $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.


Media contact:
David Salter
Director of Communications
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-3015, 691-3577

2008 01 17                                                   1:40 p.m.


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