Dave LeDrew and his family this week got a sense of comfort they haven’t felt in years.
“It’s been touch and go for a couple years. It’s hard to plan for the future when you don’t know what to expect,” LeDrew said. “(Now) for a couple of years, I don’t need to worry about work.”
LeDrew, a fabricator for Ramsay Machine Works, lost his job three years ago – not long after he was married and just a week before he learned they were pregnant.
Soon after, he signed on at Ramsay and was glad for the work, but the economy left him on uncertain ground.
Tuesday, Ramsay announced it secured a $20-million contract with Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver, to build a stacker-reclaimer to handle coal.
“It’s a great day for Ramsay,” said Greg Ramsay, the Sidney company’s co-owner and CEO with his brother Fraser.
The company plans to hire about 20 people to create the equipment, designed by Ontario engineering firm, EMS-Tech. Ramsay added he might hire 10 extra people for the assembly phase of the project.
“We try to recruit locally,” Ramsay said, “but we’ll have to go wherever we can.”
Fabrication is scheduled to start in January and assembly in June. Ramsay expects the stacker-reclaimer to be ready to ship to Neptune by February 2013, and reassembled for operation by that spring.
“It’s a significant impact it’s going to have directly on the region,” said Sidney Mayor Larry Cross.
“The multiplier effect is (also) very significant,” he added, saying Ramsay employees will spend money in restaurants and shops, and that trucking companies will also see a boost.
“These are skilled people required as well, young people.”
LeDrew said for people who work in trades, announcements such as Tuesday’s are great news, especially in a weakened economy.
“For the last couple years, when the economy dwindles, the trades take the hit. Now that this is up and running, we don’t have to worry for a while.”
Did you know?
The stacker-reclaimer will handle 12.5 million tonnes coal annually at Neptune Terminals. It will move coal from trains to stockpiles to vessels and have a high functioning dust suppressor.