Treat Abandoned Englee Plant like the Emergency it is: Mitchelmore

Taken January 26, 2012

NDP Fisheries Critic Christopher Mitchelmore (The Straits-White Bay North) is demanding the provincial government deal with the decaying former fishplant in Englee before something tragic happens in the Northern Peninsula community.

“The Provincial Government has failed to commit to the clean-up of the abandoned Englee fish plant, for which it is ultimately responsible,” said Mitchelmore. “On January 26, the roof of the structure collapsed. This was nearly eight years after the company that had been operating the plant abandoned it. Community representatives have been calling for the plant’s removal ever since, but government is apparently ignoring them.

“It is obvious to me this Government does not have a plan to deal with crisis situations” says Mitchelmore. “This dangerous situation in Englee could have been prevented and should be a lesson for this Government. Nobody was hurt this time, but there’s no guarantee about what will happen next time a portion of that plant falls down.”

Mitchelmore says the situation in Englee should be raising alarm bells in every community in the province with a fishplant. “What will stop Ocean Choice International, for example, from similarly walking away from communities in which it currently does business – or from plants it has closed?” Mitchelmore asked. “The Province must enact legislation to hold companies accountable, especially fish processers that are benefiting from the people’s resource.

“It is time to give communities control over their resources, entering into a royalty agreement with a processor,” he said. “If Government continues to give away our fishery to irresponsible processors, any town in Newfoundland and Labrador could be facing a crisis similar to the one in Englee.”


    1. This is a more complex matter. The company had filed for bankruptcy, the receiver did not take ownership and the Town did not seize the property. The Town with the loss of the key employer (fish plant) since 2004 is under stress for resources. The Town simply does not have the financial means to take ownership and tear down this property. An environmental assessment points out the concentration of lead paint and possible pollutants also may require experts to remove this unstable structure. The removal of this property will enable more economic development in the Town and help it transition, reducing dependency on Government subsidies.

      The Province must ensure that we introduce stronger legislation to protect the taxpayer and small towns from environmental hazards and clean-ups that may be left by other fish processors or companies. Given the current safety risk, the Government must take action to remove the structure.

  1. When the town was enjoying the employment afforded by the largest employer in the area, perhaps it should have tried to take some of the monies provided to it by the province and the company for the inevitable day when the company would leave? I still fail to see how the government should be held to account for a planning failure. The town could seek financial aid, or a loan from a bank. As for economic development, that’s a straw man. Don’t say that removing a decrepit building will lead to more development unless there are already businesses signed up to take the land.

Leave a Reply