Winnipeg's construction industry not affected by economic downturn
Cheryl Holmes, CTV Winnipeg
Published Thursday, February 25, 2016 5:27PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, February 25, 2016 7:13PM CST
In a time when much of Canada is facing an economic downturn, Winnipeg is announcing and breaking ground on new multi-million dollar projects.
In his State of the City address, Mayor Brian Bowman announced his support to demolish and redevelop Winnipeg’s Public Safety Building and Civic Centre Parkade.
The project could be one of many major construction sites set to take over the city in the coming years.
“I think it's a really interesting opportunity for some innovative construction in that area,” said Colin Fast, policy manager at the Winnipeg Construction Association.
Work is already underway at Winnipeg’s famed True North Square.
According to True North Sports and Entertainment, the $400-million development could take until 2020 before it's fully complete.
Fast said True North Square will have a big impact on employment.
“We're looking at probably about 1,500 person years of employment, that's going to be about 375 full time jobs on site over the course of that project,” he said.
It’s good news for people like Keith Fleury who’s worked in construction for the past decade, and is now completing a carpentry apprenticeship set to wrap up next year.
“A lot of people when they do any kind of work on their house, whether it be renovations or any kind of new projects, new builds, they're going to look for a ticketed carpenter,” said Fleury.
He says with more multi-million dollar projects on the horizon that could mean more commercial work opportunities.
“Those are projects that last years, years, and they have different trades throughout each industry, so it doesn't just help carpentry, it helps every trade,” said Fleury.
Winnipeg's major developments, including the $155-million Waverley underpass approved by city council this week, make this one of the few Canadian cities booming at a time the country's economy is facing a downturn.
In January, Alberta posted its worst unemployment rate in a decade, as the shock of plunging oil prices sunk its teeth into the job market.
“We might see some construction workers actually move back who went out to Alberta years ago, and I think that's going to be a really interesting opportunity for local firms to expand and to bring some people home as well,” said Fast.
The Winnipeg Construction Association says over the next 10 years, it expects the city will need another 7,000 new construction workers in the field, part of that is attributed to baby boomers retiring in the next decade.