By Aaron Beswick
FOR THE SOU’WESTER
Englee, N.L. Mayor Edgar Fillier has seen his town dragged through the wringer so many times, he’s not counting his chickens before they hatch.
But there may be good news for Englee. “There are ongoing negotiations with Deep Atlantic International Inc., but nothing definitive as such in terms of movement to build a plant,” he said last week. “It’s not a done deal.”
Nonetheless, the town has sought environmental approval to be granted a property adjacent to the old fish plant by Crown Lands. The town proposes to then lease the property to Deep Atlantic. “The proponent plans to sublet a block of land on the west side of Englee, adjacent to the former fish plant, for construction and operation of a crab, pelagic and groundfish processing facility.
Construction will include a two-storey building which will house the entire operation,” stated the proposal registered by Englee Town Council on the Department of Environment’s website.
The Englee plant has had many owners over the past decade. Two years ago, Korean businessman Thomas Kwoun visited the town, took over the processing licences and left everyone with the impression he’d build a new plant in the community plagued by out-migration. Kwoun wasn’t seen in Englee again. “Englee needs something to survive,” said Rudy Porter, chair of the Englee Economic Recovery Committee. “We’re aware of the overcapacity in the industry, but we have 30-40 million pounds of product offloaded here yearly. How can we have so much offloaded in the community and watch it go out the highway when we need jobs here.”
Meanwhile, there are reports Deep Atlantic International Inc. wants to transfer its primary processing snow crab licence from New Ferolle to Englee.
There are also indications the company may be requesting a primary shrimp processing licence for Englee.
Any such requests, however, will have to go before the Fish Processing Licensing Board.
Up to Friday, that hadn’t been done.
A practical freeze on the issuance of crab processing licences in the province has meant that the licences need to be transferred. New Ferrolle’s plant hasn’t used its crab processing licence in recent years.
Last year the plant operated from May to September processing capelin, herring, mackerel, scallop, lobster and cod. Nonetheless, New Ferolle plant workers’ representative William Ryland doesn’t want to see the licence leave his community. “Yes we are very concerned about the crab licence,” said Ryland in response to speculation that the crab licence may be transferred. “There is going to be a petition to try and stop this process.”
The Castor River South resident explained that the province has been leasing the New
Ferolle plant to Deep Atlantic on a year-to-year basis. His concern is that if Deep Atlantic decides not to renew its lease, the New Ferrolle plant will be less attractive to other plant operators who may want to utilize the crab processing licence.
By Aaron Beswick