The Wednesday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories
Highlights from the news file for Wednesday, Jan. 11
Patrick Szarc, left, and Stephen Slicker talk about MacDougall Steel moving into the former McCain French fry plant in Albany. On Wednesday, the province announced MSE’s purchase of the plant.
©Millicent McKay/TC Media
ALBANY, P.E.I. — In Patrick Szarc’s two-and-a-half years with MacDougall Steel Erectors, he has never been so shocked and excited at the same time.
“It’s a really big thing that the company is coming here. I mean look at this place,” he said as he gestured to the former McCain plant. “It’s going to take a lot to set up and it’s going to be a big deal. It’s exciting.”
“It certainly seems like it is going to be a positive thing for the Island. We just want to see things move forward and then we can really be excited to the possibilities.”
Sang Nguyen, another employee at MacDougall Steele Erectors, agreed.
“I feel very secure knowing that MacDougall is coming here. It will help the community. There will be more employees and create more jobs for people who decide to come to Canada and P.E.I. They helped me when I first came here from Vietnam and I have a wife and new six-month-old son. This is very good.”
On Wednesday, the Island’s provincial government announced that MacDougall Steel Erectors purchased the former McCain french fry plant located in Albany that closed in October of 2014.
“When McCain made the decision to cease operations at the plant, it was a blow to the economy in this region and the Island as a whole. But to their credit they stepped forward to help. To that end the company set up a $2-million fund to be administrated through innovation P.E.I,” said Heath MacDonald, the minister of Economic Development and Tourism.
“The province immediately convened a committee that included representation from Borden–Carleton, the Central Development Corporation, ACOA and the province to review and oversee applications. I’m pleased to announce today, that the request for proposals into the McCain Development Fund will be made public on Jan. 16.”
At the announcement, Ron MacDougall, the CEO and president of MacDougall Steel Erectors listed the reasons the company wanted to take over the location.
“We want to do pipe spooling, where we make pipes for the industrial business. We want to get into heavy industrial work, building different components for other people, like an oil rig. We want to be a pipe supplier to other structural steel firms and to other businesses that want to start up and grow.
“We want to increase the volume of our structural steel. In the coming years we want to do up to 12,000 tonnes of steel. We want to grow significantly the main product that we make and sell, small steel components to farmers and companies who want to grow, as well make miscellaneous steel fabrications, like staircases and railings.
“A change has been brought on by the young people of this company. These guys range from mid-20s to a little less than 40. The next generation is why we are moving this company forward. It is easy to see when your company is dying, but our company is growing with the market, and we hope that this lights a fire within our company.”
Jamie Fox, the leader of the Opposition and the MLA for Borden–Carleton, said MacDougall Steel was the right option for the community.
“They believe in the products they put out, they are family oriented and care about their employees.
“I’ve always said that Borden could be the industrial hub of the Island, and with this move, the province is showing the world what our workforce can do.”