Minister says government working on a solution
The deadline for the Englee fish plant cleanup has passed, and work on the issue is ongoing. — Transcontinental Media photo
As the Englee fish plant continues to deteriorate, so, too, do Sea Treat Ltd.’s financial affairs as it continues to work through bankruptcy proceedings in the courts.
A government-imposed deadline to clean up the site has passed without action from the company, and the legal issues facing the company are complicating matters, said Service NL Minister Paul Davis.
The minister noted it would be simpler if the property was owned by the municipality or the province, instead of a private company.
“And therein lies the challenges that we’re continuing to work through,” said Davis.
In addition to Service NL, three other departments — Environment, Municipal Affairs and Justice — are involved in trying to get the company to clean up the former fish plant.
“I can tell you today, we’re continuing to work through this,” Davis said. “We all wish that we could have been able to process this faster and had action taken on it by now. Because of all the circumstances, we face some complex legal matters.”
Davis said his department is working with officials in the Department of Justice to move the issue forward.
“It would be difficult for me to give you specifics of where we’re going next,” he said. “Again, it’s very complex in the legal format.”
In a July 6 story in The Telegram, Englee Mayor Rudy Porter said the town has been trying to get rid of the fish plant since 2006.
The town has a small population and limited funds, making it difficult for the municipality to deal with the plant on its own, which is something Davis sympathizes with.
“I understand the town is in a difficult circumstance here,” he said. “The Municipalities Act gives some authority to the Town of Englee to deal with circumstances like this in their municipality, but I fully appreciate that Englee is a small municipality and that to deal with a challenge like this would be difficult for them. I’ve spoken to the mayor. We’re all continuing to work together to make our best efforts to move this forward.”