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Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne was surrounded by employees and supporters as he announced the building of a new office building for the department on Wheeler’s Road in Corner Brook on Friday.
Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne was surrounded by employees and supporters as he announced the building of a new office building for the department on Wheeler’s Road in Corner Brook on Friday. - Diane Crocker

The Department of Fisheries and Land Resources is making a move that will see all 250 members of its staff working out of one location in Corner Brook.

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Minister Gerry Byrne announced Friday that the province has entered into a contract with Marine Contractors to construct a new headquarters for the department on Wheeler’s Road.

The $7-million building will be financed and owned by Marine Contractors with the province leasing the entire 30,000 square feet of office space for 20 years.

At the site of the build, Byrne said the contract comes out of a request for proposals put out by the province.

It was a process he said was open to any and all types of builds, and to the use of existing facilities, but in the end using the private sector to build and create a lease opportunity for government was the best option.

It’s a little different than the traditional P3 model the province has undertaken with the construction of the new long-term care facility just over the road on Corporal Pinksen Drive.

In that case the province will assume ownership of the building. He said consultants say that projects of less than $50 million are best suited by traditional models for construction and ownership.

Byrne said the department currently spends upwards of $1.4 million a year on leased space within the city and that cost will be reduced by over $500,000 to about $800,000 a year when the new building opens.

As to why not just move the department into one of the province’s own properties, Byrne said the inventory of government-owned buildings in the city is low.

Construction of the building will begin next month and Marine Contractors plans to have it closed in before winter. The building is expected to be completed by late next summer.

The company has 10 acres of land at the site and already has an apartment building constructed there.

Marine Contractors senior project manager Rob Payne said being landlords is not foreign to the company, which already has properties that it leases out to tenants.

Payne said the company has plans to utilize more of the property for residential and commercial development.
Next summer it will build another building on the property that will include ground floor retail and commercial space.

Where they are...

The new Department of Fisheries and Land Resources building in Corner Brook will bring together 250 staff members from 17 divisions under one roof.

The department currently leases space in:

- Riverside Drive

- The Noton Building

- Herald Towers, Fortis Building

The only part of the department housed in a provincially owned building is the Crown Lands division, which is located in the Sir Richard Squires Building.

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