Borden-Carleton mayor reacts to McCain plant closure

Mike Carson, Journal Pioneer
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McCain Foods

BORDEN-CARLETON — Shock was the reaction from Borden-Carleton Mayor Dean Sexton on the announced closure of the McCain french fry plant in his community.

“We’re all shocked,” the mayor said after hearing the news Thursday morning. “There had been rumours going around but nobody thought it would materialize.”

Sexton wasn’t certain how many of the employees actually live in Borden-Carleton but any loss of citizens in a community of this size will have an impact.

“We’ve been trying to maintain if not get more businesses here,” he said. “Like any small community on the Island, we can’t take much more decline. The next thing that happens is you lose your school and once your school is gone, your community is gone.”

Town council has been working over the past few years on ways of increasing the population in the port community and to attract more business investment, an uphill battle following the shutdown of Marine Atlantic when the Confederation Bridge opened in May 1997.

“We’ve been trying to get some land for a subdivision and we’re still working on that hoping that something will materialize with some developer,” Sexton said. “Now this has hit us and it doesn’t help our case much right now. We were trying to get a subdivision with affordable, attractive housing so that some of these workers could move into our community and increase our tax base. This doesn’t help at all.”

McCain Foods is providing $2 million in transition funding to identify potential economic development initiatives, but Sexton said that money is going to the province.

‘We just hope the province doesn’t just take that money to try and pay off their debt and we’d never get a cent of it.”

It’s still early and Sexton said the community needs time to catch its breath.

“We’re just trying to absorb the shock at this stage and where we might go next.”

Sexton said officials at McCain Foods have told him that all of the equipment will be removed but the facility will remain.

“We’re going to have to set up a meeting with the province and the federal government to see what our next move is. I haven’t even had a chance to talk to council yet about this.”

Organizations: McCain Foods, Town council, Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Borden-Carleton, Iceland

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  • Arnot
    August 08, 2014 - 10:52

    ...and just how much money has PEI (& perhaps the Feds) put into this profitable Corporation over the years! Why is there no requirement by, in this case the PEI government, in these loan/grant agreements with Corporations like McCain to have to maintain their plant operational unless or until they repay the loans. In the case of "fogivable" loans the period of forgiveness and the amount per year forgiven needs to be extended as well.

    • An Islander
      August 08, 2014 - 15:56

      A loan is a loan and needs to be paid back, they didn't declare bankruptcy, they are still a profitable company, if they owe PEI money they will get it back. You people need to give your head a shake, PEI gives these big companies low interest loans due to the fact of the taxes they collect of them every year. Income tax, sales tax, petroleum tax, every farmer selling to them has to pay the same taxes, and every contractor as well, this is huge money to the island. We don't give them money, we lend it very cheaply, it makes their books look better at the end of the year and we get millions in tax revenues because of it! Sad to see they couldn't make it work out, but we have high energy prices and mother nature isn't watering our crops like she used to......I give Cavendish farms less than 2 years and they will do the same. They have huge mostly automated plants south of the border, producing more, with far less man power. The closure of these big potato processing plants is good for us in some ways, but very bad in other ways though........

    • An Islander
      August 08, 2014 - 16:14

      Just to continue with my tax rant a little more, of those 121 directly employed and the countless others indirectly employed (mostly farmers, truckers and contractors amongst others) most live on the island(property and income tax), shop on the island(our cut of HST), eat here and fuel their vehicles here(more taxes), they even buy their weekend beer on the Island(once again, another tax) all which all adds to the Island's tax revenue stream, this is why I have absolutely no problem with low interest loans to these big companies, they are established and are not going anywhere, the money loaned will be repaid and the taxes collected are huge!