Berwick, N.S. – A prepared meats facility in Berwick, N.S. that is scheduled to close completely by this April may be reincarnated into a poultry processing plant.
The prepared meats facility belongs to Maple Leaf Foods Inc., which announced the closure last November.
When the Nova Scotia poultry industry’s strategic planning committee heard of the closure it began talking with Maple Leaf about using the site for a poultry processing plant, reports the Chronicle Herald of Nova Scotia.
The poultry industry’s strategic planning committee had originally been in talks with Maple Lodge Holding Corp. of Ontario to build a new chicken and turkey processing plant in another location.
When Maple Leaf announced the closure it also said it would work with all levels of government, economic development agencies and community leaders to look into initiatives that would help ease the transition and support recovery efforts in the region. This would include joint efforts to find alternate uses for the facility.
The poultry industry’s strategic planning committee has looked into moving into the Berwick site but still has not made a decision. Its design team and engineering firm are still investigating the site and the committee plans to work with Maple Leaf to see if it is a viable option.
The Berwick site is a 200,000-sq.-ft. multi-purpose facility that employs approximately 280 people. It produces bacon, ham, sliced meats, sausage and deli products. Maple Leaf will begin gradually winding down production this February.
The committee is looking to open a new poultry processing plant at some location by the summer of 2012. It will likely employ 200 workers and process more than 40 million kg per year of poultry from farmers in Nova Scotia and P.E.I.
The Chronicle Herald reports that a final decision on the Berwick site could be announced in four to six weeks.