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A full view of the new plant.
©Andrew Robinson/TC Media
BAY DE VERDE — Judy Foote stood directly next to Quinlan Brothers vice-president Robin Quinlan almost a year ago as he discussed the company’s commitment to rebuild the fish plant it lost in a devastating fire.
The Bonavista-Burin-Trinity MP dropped by the new plant Monday, March 13 for a tour of the facility, accompanied by Quinlan Brothers officials.
“When I was there last year, of course it was nothing but a pile of rubble,” Foote told The Compass shortly before boarding a flight back to Ottawa last Tuesday.
“It was a tragic, tragic event, and looking at that, it was difficult to see where you could see a silver lining,” she said. “But I really want to pay tribute to Quinlan Brothers. The company, they’ve come through in spades. It’s absolutely amazing that one year after that devastating episode, they are going to be able to open the plant with a much more modern facility, state of the art, world-class, one of its kind in the world in terms of some of the technology that’s being utilized.”
Ensuring the employment of hundreds of people is a remarkable feat given the circumstances the company faced in 2016, she said. Quinlan Brothers worked with other processors to accommodate its plant employees and handle product, and somehow managed to make it through the season.
The 2017 season should be easy by comparison. According to Foote, the company expects to have the plant ready to open next month.
The federal government already had plans to invest in the harbour prior to last year’s fire, but following that event, the decision was made to increase its investment to the tune of $8 million for the wharf alone. Foote said that work is still ongoing.
The plant rebuild resulted in approximately 100 jobs. That workforce does include some people from the Trinity-Conception area.
“The work that’s been done is nothing short of incredible in the period of time that they’ve had to do this,” said Foote. “I have no doubt that the employees will be so impressed.”
Foote also met with representatives from the local harbour authority last Monday.