Marystown Mayor Sam Synard is forecasting that if everything goes smoothly the town could take ownership of the former Marystown Shipyard by the end of the month.
“The town’s deal to purchase the yard (from Peter Kiewit) is pretty well complete,” Synard told The Southern Gazette on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Once the town owns the yard, the next step is to finalize an agreement with Marbase Marystown Inc., a partnership between Newfoundland businessman Paul Antle and Amar Group AS, a Norwegian company, to lease the facility.
Marbase intends to use the facility to service the aquaculture industry.
“We’ve pretty well got everything finished now for our lease agreement with the Norwegian people,” Synard said.
Meanwhile, Marbase is working to secure a collective agreement with Unifor Local 20, the union representing the people who used to work at the facility.
Union president Rick Farrell confirmed to The Southern Gazette that a tentative agreement had been reached between the union and Marbase during a ratification meeting on Monday, Nov.12.
Farrell said voting on the proposed new agreement will continue into Friday, Nov. 16.
He explained the negotiating committee has recommended acceptance of the agreement, adding results of the secret ballot should be known once all votes are tallied Friday evening.
Mayor Synard is hopeful everything will roll out smoothly.
“If that vote comes back in the affirmative, accepting the terms and conditions of the collective agreement, then I think you will see the deal closed before the end of November,” said Synard. “We can’t proceed without a union contract because Unifor does have jurisdiction of the shipyard footprint.
“So if the union votes against the collective agreement we are really back to square one.”
Synard said should the union reach an agreement with Marbase, there are a number of things that need to be done to prepare the facility for use. He noted repairs would be needed to some of the buildings, the wharf and, possibly the syncrolift.
He added the town is waiting until they take ownership of the aging facility before making any repairs.