Pomerleau Celebrates 20 Years in Atlantic Canada

Written by Grace McGrenere

With over two decades of business in Atlantic Canada, Pomerleau, one of Canada’s largest construction companies, boasts an extensive list of projects in eastern Canada. Since setting up shop in Halifax in 2003, Pomerleau has grown alongside the Atlantic communities where it builds. Today, the company has offices in Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Moncton, New Brunswick.

Before opening its office in Halifax, Pomerleau had already delivered five projects in Atlantic Canada. Some of these projects laid the foundation for enduring partnerships, notably with clients such as Defence Construction Canada (DCC) and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC).

In 2004, Pomerleau secured its first major design-build contract in Atlantic Canada for the Halifax Harbour Solutions project, involving the construction of three rainwater and wastewater treatment plants. Mirroring the significant growth the Atlantic Canada region has experienced in the past two decades, the builder has delivered around 167 projects in the region worth over $3.5 billion in total.

Today, the Atlantic region has 73 employees and 16 ongoing projects, including the Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre (ASEC) in Moncton and the Daniel J. MacDonald building in Charlottetown.

A look at some of Pomerleau’s current projects
ASEC in Moncton, New Brunswick

Pomerleau is building a world-class scientific centre in Moncton where researchers will work together to protect and preserve Atlantic freshwater and coastal ecosystems. The Moncton Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre (ASEC) is a multi-disciplinary science facility being redeveloped on the site of the Gulf Fisheries Centre. This project for Public Service and Procurement Canada is exciting and transformative. It will not only bring scientists together to continue their research, but it is also an opportunity to participate in efforts to reconcile and support the economic participation of Indigenous peoples in a major federal project.

The project aims to create significant long-term opportunities for Indigenous people and businesses in the region. The design and construction of the facility is expected to generate contracts worth over $60 million in total for Indigenous businesses and significant benefits for their communities in New Brunswick. The ASEC will drive collaborative scientific research; foster partnerships; promote community engagement and ocean literacy; build a culture of sustainability, excellence and continuous innovation; and actively focus on traditional ecological knowledge.

Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, Nova Scotia
When Pomerleau was awarded the construction management contract alongside Lindsay Construction for the expansion of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, it was the largest contract to date for Pomerleau in Atlantic Canada. This $480 million contract includes the addition of three buildings.

The Cape Breton Cancer Centre, a new 8,953m2 three-storey facility, will provide more treatment space, house cutting-edge cancer care technology, and be equipped to accommodate more clinical trials. The 2,924m2 Energy Centre at the rear of the campus will act as the heart and lungs of the entire upgraded campus system. The building will primarily run on environmentally sustainable wood chips.

The new Clinical Services building is a 24,309m2, eight-storey cast-in-place concrete building. When its doors open, it will feature a new Emergency Department, a Critical Care Department, inpatient beds, surgical suites with cardiac catheterization lab, and a Family and Newborn Care unit, all connected to the Cape Breton Cancer Centre and existing Cape Breton Regional Hospital via a pedway system.

Corner Brook Regional Recreation Centre in Corner Brook, Newfoundland
Pomerleau is building the new Corner Brook Regional Recreation Centre for the City of Corner Brook by renovating and constructing an addition to the existing Arts and Science Centre on the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University. The existing portion of the Arts and Sciences Centre that is being renovated currently houses a pool, gymnasium, and additional spaces. The addition will be seamlessly tied to the existing building and will include a welcoming lobby, large aquatics centre, daycare and outdoor playground, child minding space, fitness centre, and additional support spaces for the main uses of the facility.

A leisure pool will be incorporated into the new aquatics centre and will accommodate recreational swimming, leisure, exercise, and swimming instruction. A beach entry with interactive water features and a seated area, including hydro-massage jets, are part of the design plans. A lazy river with the capability to increase current for resistance programming and two cool-down lanes will also be included.

Daniel J. MacDonald Building in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Pomerleau is rehabilitating and optimizing the Daniel J. MacDonald Building, the national headquarters for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). The company’s mandate is to replace and modernize the asset’s aging mechanical and electrical systems and to upgrade the outdated interior space to Government of Canada Workplace standards. The project will yield a modern, sustainable, and efficient workplace for VAC.

The project is seeking Green Globes Certification level 3 or better. The goal is to increase energy efficiency, reduce operational costs, and contribute to Government Canada’s reduced carbon footprint.

The project will also include an Indigenous Participation Plan (IPP) that will see 10 percent of all subcontracts awarded to Indigenous businesses, and 1 percent of the contract value provided for skill and capacity building.

Parks Canada’s Visitor Centre in Gros Morne, Newfoundland
Pomerleau is building a mass-timber visitor centre for the Newfoundland and Labrador Park on a UNESCO heritage site. This construction involved the demolition of the original visitor centre, which included a theatre that once was a popular roosting place for a colony of little brown bats, which are an at-risk species.

To ensure that the bats had a more viable habitat, Parks Canada installed permanent bat condos in an effort to relocate the bats. These condos, which are located next to the building, have become an even more habitable place for them thanks to the finishing touches made by Pomerleau. Together with Parks Canada, Pomerleau employees elevated the condos to the same height as the theatre roof, where the bats used to enter to roost. They also removed siding from the old visitor centre and added it to the bat condo to promote tactile familiarity. Throughout the entire construction process, by incorporating schedule changes, Pomerleau has been reducing the amount of noise in the area to not disturb the bats during their roosting period.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Pomerleau is the construction manager for the expansion and redevelopment of the International Connections Facility at Halifax Stanfield Airport. The project will play a significant role in keeping up with the demand and capacity for airport facilities in future years.

The project involves the relocation and expansion of the existing International-To-Domestic (ITD) passenger transfer facility run by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). A new second floor space will be seamlessly tied into the surrounding corridors.

Maintaining the daily operations of the airport is a priority and Pomerleau is working to ensure that passage through the airport can continue normally without any disruption caused by the construction work.

Labour shortage
Pomerleau is experiencing the labour shortage like other partners of the industry. There’s no magic solution but to engage in conversation with all stakeholders.

Within its operations, the builder has established some offices close to the communities where it has construction sites. Pomerleau opened offices in St. John’s and Moncton to be present, to engage with the surrounding communities, and to forge relationships with subcontractors, suppliers, and potential partners.

The company is an active member of the community as well. The builder is strengthening ties with local post-secondary institutions by partaking in career fairs and offering bursaries and internships. For those in the early stages of their career, Pomerleau provides a robust onboarding experience, allowing employees to grow within the company and make connections across the country.

Fostering long-term relationships with partners is key when facing challenges, and Pomerleau is engaging in conversations with various experts to find innovative solutions to the labour shortage. Pomerleau is working with local subcontractors to promote the economic vitality of local communities and develop skills among the region.

Indigenous inclusion and workplace realities
Indigenous peoples comprise a sizable portion of the population in various Atlantic communities, and fostering partnerships with these communities is Pomerleau’s priority. This year, Pomerleau released its first Integrated Report, which combines its Activity and Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reports. To support Indigenous reconciliation and economic development, the company has made it a priority to make Indigenous peoples its business partners by maximizing workers’ and businesses’ participation in construction.

For more than a decade, Pomerleau has carried out approximately 30 construction projects located within Indigenous communities or in collaboration with Indigenous communities throughout Canada. Pomerleau is currently working on 11 active projects, of which three are in Atlantic Canada, that integrate Indigenous businesses and experts. The builder is bidding on 27 projects that will foster Indigenous participation and promote community capacity building. The company’s number of bids has tripled in the last year, leading to the significant increase in collaboration with Indigenous communities.

Opportunities for Indigenous businesses in Atlantic Canada
Almost one-quarter (23 percent) of the value of the redevelopment of ASEC, located on unceded Mi’kmaq traditional territory in Moncton, is planned to be allocated to Indigenous businesses and communities.

Pomerleau’s Indigenous Participation Plan for ASEC serves as a framework. The company’s project team and Indigenous relations and sustainable development specialists developed it alongside local Indigenous consultants, Indigenous organizations, such as the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI), and representatives from the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik First Nations communities. Through this collaboration, Pomerleau intends to propose concrete mechanisms to maximize Indigenous participation in the project.

Pomerleau’s impact in Atlantic Canada extends far beyond construction projects. It represents a testament to the power of collaboration, sustainability, and relationship building, and a commitment to positive social and economic change. As the company continues to grow, it remains committed to community-centric construction in the region, with a focus on local residents and businesses.



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