Englee calls on government for action on plant

Juris Graney
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A section of the former Englee fish processing plant gave away last week and crashed into the town’s major shipping lane. — Submitted photo

A large section of the derelict former Englee processing plant, one of the first fresh fish processing plants in the province, crashed last week into the harbour raising concerns that the entire structure may soon tumble into the water.

If that happens, warned Mayor Rudy Porter, a major shipping lane into the town’s main wharf will be cut off by flotsam, creating a navigation hazard.

“It should never have come to this,” he said. “We’ve been trying to get this issue resolved, but nothing has come of it. Well, it’s not good enough.”

In March, the Northern Pen reported on the town’s plea to have the provincial government come in and help remedy what could quickly become a disaster area.

Porter said the federal government has offered the town money under the small craft harbour program to build a new wharf at the site of the old plant, but wrangling over the ownership of the plant has stalled proceedings.

According to Porter, neither the provincial government nor the bank holding the deed to the property seem willing to do anything about the property and seem happier for it to fall into the water. But where does that leave the town and the fishermen who use that wharf?

“I wrote to (Fisheries Minister) Clyde Jackman last fall and he wrote back saying that the government wasn’t in the business of bailing out companies,” Porter said. “The company that owned it no longer exists. They went bankrupt. ... What happens when the rest of it falls into the water and blocks off the wharf?”

Daley Bros. walked out of the plant in 2004 and a year or two later NFL Fisheries planned to buy the structure but pulled out at the last minute, leaving the town with a ramshackle building that has since been vandalized and fallen into disrepair.

When the province handed down its 2011 budget 2011 April 19 there was “$150,000 for the demolition and site restoration of abandoned fisheries infrastructure,” but none of that appears to be going towards Englee.

Porter said with voters heading to the polls Oct. 11, this has become an election issue in his riding. Tourists have also become aware.

“They are getting a good idea of just what the provincial government thinks about small towns on the Northern Peninsula,” Porter said.

Jackman declined an interview request from the Northern Pen, but a department spokesperson emailed a brief statement saying the wharf was being held by a receiver as part of the overall assets of the Daley company that declared bankruptcy.

He also said the money in Budget 2011 was to address derelict fisheries infrastructure that belongs to the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, adding the Englee plant is not the department’s asset.

The Northern Pen

Organizations: Daley Bros., Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture

Geographic location: Northern Peninsula

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Recent comments

  • SP
    October 24, 2011 - 11:31

    Wow - a lot of vitriol against small rural communities! Without the culture they created the tourism industry would be a lot smaller, culture-based industries would not exist, and the sense of place that draws so many to the province would have drifted away.

  • KD
    September 17, 2011 - 19:15

    Small town nl survives by retirees and people who choose to work outside the town. These small towns are great to live in but for government to try to provide jobs for everyone there makes no sense. There is lots of chatter comming from the opposition parties concerning the fishery it may be a way of life for some it puts very little into the economy when one considers how much they take out. The fishery for all intents is dead it`s time it was buried, in my opinion it is not a very good vote getter as most people the handouts given to the fishermen

  • JT
    September 14, 2011 - 09:43

    Yet again we have more complaining from the Northern Pen. If the government does not hold title to the property, then the government should not be responsible for it's upkeep. Go after Daley Bros. or whoever holds title to the property to get action. I am so sick and tired with some people who believe the Gubmint has to do every little thing for them, next they will want Gubmint to wipe their hiney's for them.

    • John
      September 15, 2011 - 09:51

      Even better again, Why doesn't the government give Englee's citizens a package to move out of Englee and then who cares about the building falling into the water? All these places that have 50 per cent unemployment are not gong to get any better than they are now. It doesn't matter who the government is and who the premier is be it Brian Peckford, Clyde Wells, Brian Tobin, Kathy Dunderdale, Danny Williams, the state of the smallest towns in rural NL is beyond hope. This is a worldwide issue not just a NL issue. No more clap trap from politicians who say they have a plan. Thirty years of plans have failed. Let;s move em out.