Anyone talking to Englee Mayor Rudy Porter Wednesday probably caught him in a good mood.
The provincial government announced Wednesday morning it has waited long enough for the owners of the former Englee fish plant to tear down the decrepit building.
The province will pay to have the work done. The bill will be sent to the plant’s owners, Sea Treat Ltd. which was a subsidiary of Daley Brothers which declared bankruptcy in 2007.
This is a day Porter has been waiting for.
“I’m jubilant. I’m elated. I’m on cloud nine. Finally,” he said.
The Town of Englee has long called the large building a safety hazard and an eyesore.
It sits adjacent to one of its major roads, as well as being built partially over the harbour.
It was closed and abandoned in 2004. A section of roof collapsed last winter and lately a section of one of the walls has started to show stress.
The province had issued an order of cleanup under the Environmental Protection Act to the owners, but the deadline came and went without any action taken.
Service NL Minister Paul Davis told The Telegram it was a legal quagmire to manoeuvre to get to the point where the province felt comfortable doing the demolition work itself.
“We’ve taken every step we can to encourage (the owners) to take responsibility for it. We have not been successful in doing that,” said Davis.
“We’re at the point now where we’re satisfied that, from a legal perspective, we’ve exhausted all the avenues that are available to use to apply the Environmental Protection Act. And I should tell you that we’re not finished with our efforts to hold people responsible. Our intention is to continue to hold them responsible even though we are going to move forward and carry out the work necessary.”
That could mean potential legal action against the company’s trustees in the future, he warned.
In the present, work has already started on a plan to safely demolish the plant and remediate the land. A consulting company was on site Wednesday. Davis said it was too early to estimate how long the demolition will take, but he did say it should progress quickly.
That’s a relief for local NDP MHA Christopher Mitchelmore. He started pushing for the site’s cleanup even before he was elected last fall.
He’s happy with the province’s commitment to remediate the site, but promised to keep a close eye on the work’s progress.
“I’ll be watching this very closely. Because even though they have the commitment I won’t be satisfied until they have that plant removed and completely remediated,” said Mitchelmore.