As you bike or bus along Barrington Street near the dockyard, do you ever wonder what happens behind the cement wall and the large white and blue Irving Shipyard sign? Well let me tell you — lots! It’s the epicenter of the old and new; a navy frigate is being painted in a dry dock that painted ships in the days of sail and steam. From there, you see the most high-tech machinery building the ships of today and tomorrow.
I was there recently for a tour. It was windy and cold, but knock-your-socks-off interesting. Behind the machines and bolts is a centre of excellence that could be a real game changer for our city and province. Irving is bidding on a huge national contract to build new ships that will be worth $35 billion over the next 30 years. To support this contract, all kinds of trades, techies and apprentices will be hired. The economic spin off will boost our economy and we will develop new ways of doing things that we can market to the rest of the world.
The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is a huge opportunity for Nova Scotia and Irving Shipbuilding is best positioned as a centre of excellence for building Canada’s fleet. If successful, this contract would create and sustain thousands of jobs, and make life better for families in every region of the Maritimes.
Our shipbuilding and design expertise could not have reached its peak of global competitiveness without the knowledge gained and passed on from our role in Canada’s frigate replacement program. Projects like the construction of Canada’s navy frigates in the early to mid 90s, and the current replacement and refurbishment programs aid in building experience for a multitude of companies and industries that use this knowledge to compete globally on other projects. This creates more experience and knowledge, ultimately benefiting Canada’s next generation of aerospace and defense projects.
This is the sustainable stimulus that Nova Scotia needs. These are the investments that don’t just create jobs to see us through the tough times, but that create industries that last for generations.
Valerie Payn, President & CEO, Halifax Chamber of Commerce