Delayed infrastructure funding and the sluggish economy could mean further layoffs or companies shutting down, the head of the Calgary Construction Association (CCA) has warned.
“It’s on everybody’s discussion as to what’s happening with the economy, what’s the workload for the future, and concern about keeping people busy and working,” said Frederick Vine, chair of the CCA.
Vine points to Calgary’s Green Line as an example of one such project getting delayed by red tape.
While the federal government and the City of Calgary have announced funding, the province has yet to commit, he noted.
“So there are a lot of projects like that, that one of the governments, somewhere along the line, hasn’t yet committed to proceeding.”
Projects started before the economic downturn are keeping the construction industry going for now, Vine said on Wednesday, speaking to hundreds of people at a conference in Calgary.
Vine says he hopes companies don’t have to shut down or let go of workers while waiting for these projects to start up.
The association represents the commercial, industrial and institutional sectors of the construction industry.
Glen Clark, vice-president of business development for Westcor Construction, which does work in all sectors, says his company is already seeing a slide in work.
“Our segment of the industry is about 30 per cent down from where it was a year ago. It doesn’t look like it’s going to rebound as fast as anybody would like it to,” says Clark.
He predicts a tough time in the first half of 2017 — and maybe even beyond.
Money ‘not flowing’
Gilbert Brulotte, head of the Canadian Construction Association, said there are a number of explanations for the funding delays.
For one, the Liberal government needed new agreements with the provinces before proceeding.
Also, the Alberta government was late giving Ottawa its wish list for water infrastructure and transit projects, which also required funding.
“Those are just the realities of the day. It takes time, but in the meantime, the money’s not flowing.”
Obstacles aside, Brulotte believes the project will be on track next year.
Clark is also optimistic.
“For the most part, we’re still probably in one of the best markets in North America … [We’re] here for the long haul, so make good with what you got.”