Work underway on former Stephenville paper-shed building

Frank Gale
Published on October 12, 2013

With construction work taking place behind them, Mayor Tom O’Brien is seen with Linda Marche, a security guard at the Stephenville Port Harmon Industrial Facility, formerly known as the paper-shed.

©Star photo by Frank Gale

STEPHENVILLE  While Mayor Tom O’Brien couldn’t say who the tenant will be in the former Abitibi mill paper-shed at Port Harmon in Stephenville, he said a number of contracts have been issued for improvements to the facility.

He said contracts have been let for the roof, siding, doors, electrical work and exterior site work, adding up to a construction value of about $3.8 million by six different contractors.

O’Brien said he is anticipating another $4.5 million of work to be awarded for the Stephenville Port Harmon Industrial Facility later, including additional electrical, the installation of large access doors for moving large components in and out of the building, reinstatement of the office area and upgrading and reactivation of the sprinkler and heating systems.

The money for the work is being provided to the town, which owns the building, from the provincial government. The funding resulted from a resolution of a dispute concerning in-province fabrication of a third module for the Hebron Projects.

It was in December of 2012 that the government announced it would be collecting $150 million to resolve the dispute, resulting in the third module to be built outside the province.

Government said at the time it would be providing some of that money to support retrofit work on the paper-shed building at the former Stephenville paper mill site for future industrial fabrication and potential offshore developments.

O’Brien said the Town of Stephenville has entered into a lease agreement with “a substantial tenant” and that company is bidding on megaprojects, which are currently in the works.

“We’re certainly hoping, once the building is completed during the next couple of months, that it will go into operation immediately,” he said.

O’Brien said consulting engineers from BAE-Newplan Group Ltd. have completed all the engineering work for the construction now taking place, and even some that has yet to be let. He expects the remaining engineering work will be completed in the near future.

He said the paper-shed building is ideal for steel fabrication because of its massive size, with 100,000 square feet of space and a roof height that’s close to 60 feet. There are already crane lifts inside the building, which will be reactivated.

Because the building is located on the wharf at Port Harmon, it is ideal for shipping fabricated products out by boat.

O’Brien said that if the tenant can land the right contracts, the facility will have the potential to employ 50 to 70 people.