Shipbuilding stakeholders talk shop in Esquimalt

Seaspan, post-secondary institutions, federal government, Township represented at roundtable discussion

Have you ever watched an $8-billion brainstorming session?

That’s exactly what took place in Esquimalt last week, as the Township hosted a roundtable discussion with the major stakeholders connected to Seaspan’s federal shipbuilding contract.

“(The roundtable) was extremely valuable, because it put navy, dockyard and Seaspan all in the same room, along with the people working to provide the education to the workers for those facilities,” Mayor Barb Desjardins said afterward.

The forum included representatives from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Camosun College, where many of the 3,000 tradespeople that will be needed before 2020 at Seaspan’s Victoria and Vancouver shipyards will be trained.

The discussion was intended to help Esquimalt council and staff understand their role in the monumental economic activity ramping up in the region.

“The service of the fleet is more lucrative than the building of the fleet,” John Shaw, Seaspan’s vice-president of business development, said at the meeting. “In Vancouver, once you launch the ship, it’s launched.”

Ship repair will translate into at least 30 years of sustainable jobs in the shipyards, if the company stays competitive with other shipyards on the West Coast, Shaw said.

Esquimalt is undertaking an economic development process that includes consultation with seven sectors, including the latest session with shipbuilding and national defence.

The roundtable discussions provide a venue for each stakeholder to suggest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to their sector. It is then the township’s job to come up with practical ways of spurring development forward.

“We’re asking who makes up community and how we can help them, while maintaining what’s best for residents,” Desjardins said.

Alex Reuben, chair of the province’s shipbuilding and repair task force, was at the meeting and agreed with Shaw that ship repair is the key to Esquimalt’s long-term economic success.

Reuben is also executive director of the Marine Training and Applied Research Centre. The industry-led centre, on Songhees Nation land adjacent to Esquimalt, is billed by the province as a worker training site and a focal point for applied research to help meet increased business demand.

“The stability of the Seaspan contract, going forward, sets our shipbuilding and repair dockyard on a secure footing that it’s never had before,” Desjardins said.

“If what we’ve done in any way facilitates better communication for those partnerships, then we’ve already started to succeed in helping this industry do better.”

Roundtable discussions with other sectors, including education, developers and First Nations will take place over the coming months. A draft community economic development strategy should be ready to present to council this spring, Desjardins said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay council looks to whittle down tax increase from 8.05 per cent

Draft financial plan continues hyper-focus on replacing aging infrastructure

Greater Victoria has Canada’s sixth-highest ‘moving penalty’

Disparity between vacant/occupied units incentivizes renovictions and reduces mobility, researcher says

Grave site at Ross Bay Cemetery vandalized overnight

Graffiti found on grave of Sir James Douglas

Saanich Police respond to petition for new police agency on Lindsay Buziak murder case

Petition asks Public Safety Minister to to help find justice for slain realtor

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

PHOTOS: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

‘Usain Bolt he was not’: B.C. gang police seize drugs, cash after foot chase

‘The man took off running when he saw our officers approaching,’ CFSEU BC says

Most Read