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Seal processing plant heads elsewhere


After several months of meetings and negotiations, the company considering starting a new seal processing plant in the province has decided not to set up in Port Union.

Packet file photo
The OCI plant in Port Union has not been in use since 2010. But Port Union representatives say the plant is structurally sound and are hoping to put it in use.

However the town is hopeful the plant may locate there sometime in the future.

The sealskin retail store Always in Vogue had the former Ocean Choice International plant pegged as one of four or five potential sites for production. But ultimately it decided to go to a facility in Fleur de Lys, a community on the Baie Verte Peninsula.

Port Union has seen significant job loss following the closure of the fish plant in 1992 and shrimp plant in 2010, and had hoped this new plant might bring back some work.

Despite optimism, town manager Darrell Johnson said Port Union officials knew from the start it wasn’t a done deal.

“Things have changed, maybe in the future, but this year the proposed user has gone to Fleur de Lys because they couldn’t get the product on time,” Johnson told The Packet.

Johnson said the economic committee is still working to find a use for the plant.

“It could be used for anything. The thing we are looking at now is someone buying it or trying to get ownership to try and get people in there. We are working with OCI to try and use the plant, whether that means someone buying it or partnering, we’re looking at all things,” Johnson said.

Johnson said skilled workers in the community are disappointed and the town had hoped they got a chance to do the work they do so well.

“But hopefully in the future we can,” Johnson said.

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