[MARYSTOWN, NL] — The ‘Terra Nova’ floating production, storage and off-loading (FPSO) vessel has offered a reminder of the good times for businesses in Marystown.
The ship has brought a bit of a mini-boom since its arrival at Peter Kiewit’s Cow Head fabrication site for scheduled maintenance and repairs late last month.
The project is expected to employ approximately 600 workers at the facility at its peak, but, unfortunately, will wrap up around mid-September.
Bob Gute, owner of the Admiral’s Galley and Keg, acknowledged his restaurant has experienced a sizeable boost in sales in recent weeks.
“Oh, certainly, yes, big time. I’d say our sales are up at least 30 per cent.
“We’re not complaining, put it that way.”
Gute indicated the increase in business has been a welcomed change from a depressed economy, which had been hurting from an empty shipyard and closure of Ocean Choice International’s fish plant.
“I think everybody is benefiting from it, everybody. It’d be some nice to see it down there all the time.”
According to word around town, it’s more difficult to find accommodations this summer.
Braxton Suites in Creston South has 10 of its 13 efficiency units booked to Suncor Energy for the summer months.
Gerry Brenton is happy for the business but said he made sure to leave some units for regular clientele.
“The town is booming there now. I mean all the bars and the restaurants, everything’s gone right mad. It’s definitely good business for the town.”
Likewise, Marystown Hotel and Convention Centre signed a contract to rent a block of its 130-plus rooms for the length of the project.
But manager Brenda Stapleton indicated the hotel was also careful to keep space open for tourists and regular clientele.
“It has definitely given us a great big boost, I’ll put it that way. We have regular customers that come faithfully, and I mean, they’re the one’s that’s going to be coming back. We have tour groups and weddings and everything else on the go.”
Stapleton noted PJ Billington’s, the hotel’s restaurant, has also benefited, but marginally. She said it’s likely because workers are up and gone or arrive back early in the morning, and also have catering on site.
“You might get a bit for supper, but not a big lot. Not as much as you would expect. We might have our hotel pretty well full, but we don’t know there’s a soul in there.”
The work also has people like Brenton looking forward to the Hebron project — likely at least another year away — for which Kiewit is expected to construct one of the modules for the gravity-based structure (GBS).
That job is expected to last significantly longer than the ‘Terra Nova’ work.
“When Hebron comes, it’s going to be a couple of real busy years, too.”
Meanwhile, Gute will be among those sad to see the ‘Terra Nova’ leave after its brief stay.
“That’s the killer. Then it’ll be back to famine again.”