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Sunnyside mayor not anticipating quick resolve to dormant Bull Arm site

Bull Arm fabrication site during Hebron construction.
Bull Arm fabrication site during Hebron construction. - file photo

Sunnyside mayor Gerald Snook isn’t anticipating any action at the Bull Arm site any time soon.

That the impression he came away with following an Aug. 3 meeting between Nalcor representatives, Minister of Natural Resources Siobhán Coady and representatives from the communities of Sunnyside, Arnold’s Cove, Come by Chance and Southern Harbour.

“I left that meeting with the sense that there will be nothing going on in Bull Arm for the next two-to-three years,” Snook told The Packet.

“I’m less confident now that anything is going to happen in Bull Arm until we see the next project, like Equinor, going there.” (In July of 2018, Equnior and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador announced their partnership in the the Bay du Nord oil project.)

Snook said the meeting, organized with the help of Placentia West-Bellevue MHA Mark Browne, was called because there were still so many questions about the future of the site.

“We’re hearing different stories: Canadian Supply Base Company (CSBC) wants it, Nalcor doesn’t want to give it, the government’s involved, so we wanted to sit down and listen to what they had to say.

“It was a good meeting with Minister Coady, I think we saw the side of government and Nalcor that we needed to see. But it left me with some questions that still need to be answered.”

And the big question that weighs on Snook’s mind most is what happens next for Newfoundland and Labrador?

Listing off projects, such as Muskrat Falls and Husky Energy’s West White Rose project, that are expected to wrap up in the next couple of years, Snook wonders where Newfoundlanders will turn to work next.

“After that, all we see is Newfoundlanders getting on planes and heading west again,” he predicted.

Nalcor, in a response to The Packet’s inquires on behalf of themselves and The Department of Natural Resources, stated that they, along with the department, are still assessing both proposals in an effort to determine the best option(s), short and long term, for the Bull Arm site.

No date for that decision has been specified.

A Quiet Place

June 2017 marked the end of the Hebron era, when after seven years of construction, the behemoth was towed to sea — not without, in typically Newfoundland fashion, being first delayed a couple of days due to weather conditions.

Since then, the Bull Arm site, which sits just outside Sunnyside town boundaries in Trinity Bay, has lain dormant.

In October of 2017, Nalcor issued a request for proposals for use of the site, and then in March of 2018, Nalcor confirmed to the Packet it had entered into negotiations with two of four potential companies—the CSBC and DFB Driver — hoping to lease the fabrication site.

At the time, they said they hoped to clew up negotiations by the end of the month.

CSBC vice-president Ian LaPointe met with Sunynside town council in mid-January to discuss CSBC’s vision for the site.

“They want it to be a long-term, viable business that would maybe extend into 25 years of sustainable employment for people in the area,” Snook told The Packet in an earlier interview.

mark.squibb@thepacket.ca

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