Members, stakeholders get sneak peek at abattoir

PROVIDENCE BAY—The Manitoulin Island Community Abattoir (MICA) was opened up last Friday to allow members and stakeholders a sneak peek of the facility prior to its official opening later this fall. And everyone is excited about the building itself and the fact that it will soon be open.

“I worked at Maple Leaf Foods, which was more into chicken processing,” said David Brady, assistant manager of the abattoir, last Friday. “I think this building is going to be 150 percent functional.”

“I haven’t heard any concerns, and everyone is impressed with what they have seen,” said Mr. Brady. “This is a must for Manitoulin and everyone will benefit. I’m sure everyone will be proud of what has been done. Manitoulin will have something to be proud of here.”

Providence Bay farmer Doug McDermid said, “Oh yeah, this is going to be great. Cattle farming and processing on the Island is way down from what it used to be on Manitoulin, and it took having someone pushing for an abattoir and running it to make it a reality. It will be a benefit to everyone.”

Mr. Brady gave this reporter a tour of the facility from the front, with the barn-stable area where the cattle and other produce will be dropped off for holding for slaughter, to the back door where the processed product will be transferred to trucks to be taken to market.

The building was constructed by Coldbox Builders, is 42 feet by 100 feet in size, and is located on 10 acres of land at Monument Road in the township of Central Manitoulin.

The building includes a garage area for a trailer insulated with a refrigerator unit and will transport finished carcasses to suppliers. A storage area has been retrofit with generator to be self-sufficient.

Along with cattle, pigs and sheep will also be processed at the facility.

“The application for the septic system is in the hands of the MOE (Ministry of Environment) and once this has been granted the septic will be installed,” said Mr. Brady.

Marca Williamson, a member of the MICA board, pointed out a Dodge Ram 150 4×4 and 17 foot cargo trailer (retrofitted with a refrigeration unit), “will be used to ship product from here to Papa’s Meats or Ken Hayden’s, for instance.”

The building is a steel pre-fab building and has a vestibule on one side. The receiving door is such that any length of trailer can back up to it.

MICA purchased Papa’s Meats, owned by Jim McCormick, and the retail store will operate as a completely separate business from the abattoir and be a for-profit business.

“I think this is absolutely wonderful,” said Ms. Williamson of the abattoir. “It is what I expected and more. This has been a long process, but anything worthwhile takes time.”

“I’m sure with this facility we will see the next generation of farmers on Manitoulin on their way,” said Ms. Williamson.

While the abattoir is expected to open sometime in November or shortly thereafter, an official open house is expected to take place some time later, possibly in the spring.

Tom Sasvari