The shipbuilding contract is being painted as a golden goose for Nova Scotia, but the head of one local think tank says we shouldn’t rush to pluck all its feathers.
Charles Cirtwill, CEO of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, tells News 95.7 that in the 25 minutes after the $25 billion contract was announced, leaders in every industry – from local politicians to housing developers – had visions of suddenly paying off their pet project.
“We had spent this money six, seven, eight times over,” he said. “Suddenly we’ve now decided we can fully fund the stadium. In addition, we’re talking about massive development in Bedford West, Bedford South, we’ve got people calling for massive redevelopment in transit, we’re now suddenly going to have separate bike lanes throughout the city, our taxes are going to go down.”
Every sector from retail to auto sales is expecting a boom as new workers hired on by Irving Shipbuilding are expected to spend their money in the Halifax area.
But Cirtwill says it’s important to see the $25 billion windfall for what it is: one piece of great news that business leaders should capitalize on to attract further investment in Nova Scotia.
Cirtwill says on its own, the shipbuilding contract won’t mean any significant change in several parts of the province.
“At some point, we have to recognize that the demographics of the province haven’t fundamentally changed as a result of this,” he said. “They certainly will shift, but that doesn’t change the situation in Sydney, in Liverpool, in Yarmouth.
The contract, to build more than 20 new naval vessels over the next 30 years, is expected to bring millions of dollars to Nova Scotia and create thousands of new jobs.