An announcement is coming soon about the shuttered Opacmare manufacturing facility, says Innovation Minister Al Roach.
Roach said had numerous responses to its request for expressions of interest in purchasing the company’s property in Pooles Corner.
“Over the last number of weeks that has kind of settled in and we hope to be making an announcement about the purchase of the property at Pooles Corner and the type of work that will be taking place there in the future,” he said.
The issue came up during Thursday’s question period as opposition MLAs targeted several high-profile government announcements that were supposed to create hundreds of job, but have yet to deliver.
They included Italian yacht component manufacturer Opacmare that was supposed to create 100 positions at its plant in Pooles Corner but only had a small fraction of that number of jobs before shutting down.
In an interview, Roach said he couldn’t get into the specifics of what type of business could move into the facility.
Although Opacmare hasn’t been out of Pooles Corner, the company is still operating in Italy and while Roach said he didn’t know how much was outstanding on its loan, the company has been making all of its loan payments.
“There’s been nothing defaulted on with respect to Opacmare at all,” he said.
The opposition also questioned how much money the government was giving Indian tech firm Mphasis with Opposition Leader Olive Crane saying the province budgeted $9.3 million.
Mphasis came to P.E.I. with the expectation it would create 300 jobs with labour rebates from the province.
Roach said there are about 12 jobs in P.E.I. so far, but the company is still setting up its business and on track for its job creation commitment.
“They’re a solid company for sure,” he said.
The money included in the budget for Mphasis was earmarked for labour rebates, Roach said.
“If they don’t employ 300 people those numbers won’t work up.”
Another company the opposition targeted was Phyterra Yeast, which moved into a facility in Summerville, with help from the provincial and federal governments.
That help included a $2 million loan from the province and $1 million in funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Phyterra has since shut down its operations and plans to sell the building.
Roach said an Island company has expressed interest in the property, although he wouldn’t say which company it was.
“They seem to have a good business case so we’re looking forward to working with them,” he said.
The province also has first mortgage rights on the Summerville facility, Roach said.