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Point Hope says graving dock would create 200 trades jobs

A new graving dock at Point Hope Maritime would generate a steady stream of business that would create 200 new trades jobs and support a growing apprenticeship program.

A new graving dock at Point Hope Maritime would generate a steady stream of business that would create 200 new trades jobs and support a growing apprenticeship program.

That’s the expectation from Point Hope Maritime, which is staging a public open house at 360 Harbour Rd. on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

Not only would the project bring jobs, but it would generate many millions of dollars worth of work in Victoria’s Upper Harbour.

Ian Maxwell, founder of the Ralmax Group of Companies, which includes Point Hope, said Thursday that building a graving dock delivering reliable service would attract more work from the U.S.

Point Hope concentrates on ship repair.

“We have some strategic alliances with some other companies that we work with, and some of them have vessels that they are going to bring to us,” Maxwell said. “I think that some of the fleet owners are going to be very happy to bring us their vessels on a steady basis.”

Plans call for a graving dock running 571 feet long, 115 feet wide and 20 feet deep. It would be able to service vessels up to 560 feet long.

A gate midway would permit two smaller vessels in at the same time.

Graving docks work by allowing vessels to float inside.

Once there, the water is pumped out and the vessel rests on blocks, allowing workers to gain access to areas normally underwater.

It is expected that one large vessel would pull in every three weeks.

Point Hope’s ship-repair focus was fortified in June, when it signed a five-year deal with B.C. Ferries to perform maintenance and repair work on eight smaller ferries.

A development permit application for the graving dock has gone to Victoria city hall.

A federal application was submitted in June to Transport Canada, which oversees a permitting process that also involves Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Maxwell figures the graving dock would take up to two years to build and cost at least $50 million, but costs have not been finalized.

Adding a graving dock to Point Hope, which Maxwell bought in 2003, would allow the operation to expand its apprenticeship-training program.

Ralmax is committed to sponsoring 50 apprenticeships over the next three years through its companies, a company statement said.

General labourers earn about $90,000 annually, including benefits. Skilled-trades jobs run from $110,000 to $130,000, including benefits, the statement said.

Maxwell said workers at United Engineering, another Ralmax company, are carrying out the fine-machining on the steel delivered from China for the new Johnson Street Bridge, getting it ready to install.

Their efforts are “world-class and as fine a work as could be done anywhere — and it’s being done in Victoria,” he said.

The company would continue work within existing noise bylaws, the statement said.

Graving dock plans come as Bosa Developments announced this week that it is purchasing the remaining 10 acres of land to be developed on the adjacent Dockside Green project.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com