Final inspection of abattoir to take place on January 7

PROVIDENCE BAY—Weather is the latest cause of a delay in the opening of the new Manitoulin Island Community Abattoir (MICA). A date of December 21 had been scheduled for final inspection of the plant, however the inclement weather prevented provincial inspectors from carrying out this work.

“We will have to wait a little longer, but we’re very good at it,” quipped Birgit Martin, MICA chairperson, last week. “Approval of the plant for licencing has to be given and because of bad weather on December 21 the inspectors who were coming from Thunder Bay and Huntsville could not make it, so we had to delay the final inspection.”

However, “on January 7th, everything will be ready to go for them, and we have full expectations that everything will be fine and we will get the go ahead.”

Ms. Martin and Joan Brady, general manager of the abattoir, had indicated at the MICA annual general meeting on December 5 that the abattoir, which is located on a 10-acre parcel of land just outside of Providence Bay would soon be opening.

The new facility is 4,200 square feet in size and its development has been carried to fruition thanks to the determination of the MICA board, shareholders and membership. Determination was needed due to the length of time of the project the project has taken. The project was initiated five years ago and has accumulated over $1.5 million of local treasure and upper government funding.

During 2012 the project received a total of $1,337,734 in financial contributions. This included $492,858 from Industry Canada (through FedNor), $715,707 from NOHFC and $129,168 from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

MICA treasurer Marca Williamson presented the unaudited financial statements for the not-for-profit corporation showing assets in property, plant and equipment of $1,959,789 and a total loss of $30,527 for the year; it was also explained at the meeting the Ontario Cattleman’s Association has increased its contribution to the facility to $435,000, 60 percent of which will be paid up-front, with the remaining $138,000 to be received when the abattoir is complete and all the required permits are in place.

Ms. Martin gave special praise to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, with representative Esther Spadzinski in attendance. Ms. Martin explained one of the expenses on the cash flow sheet was the cost of a loan guarantee made by the LaCloche-Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC). LAMBAC provided the funding the project needed to move ahead, while waiting for the funding from FedNor and other agencies to arrive.

While a number of changes were required to be made to the abattoir by OMAFRA, those changes have had little impact on the cost of the facility. Ms. Martin explained, “our agreement with Coldbox Builders (the building contractor) is for a turnkey operation.” The one change that was made, extending part of the rail system to accommodate more than a single carcass, is a notable exception as those changes were outside of the original specifications. Coldbox must engineer that change in order to maintain the warranty on the building.

The meeting was introduced to the management team, comprised of Joan and Dave Brady (manager and assistant manager of the abattoir), whose duties include the oversight of the plant construction and equipment, developing plant protocols, managing Papa’s Meats and Deli, learning the meat cutting trade, marketing Manitoulin meat and maintaining and developing new clientele and connections. After the inspections, “a kill date will be set, and the (government representatives) will make a decision on this date,” said Ms. Martin. “We expect everything will go good on January 7 and then we will be ready to open very soon after that.”