Devastating news for the residents of New World Island over the weekend.
The regions chief employer, the Breakwater Fisheries Crab Processing Plant in Cottlesville burnt to the ground taking 150 permanent and part-time jobs with it, just weeks before the plant was due to restart operations.
Not only does this mean the workers will not have a job come April, their Employment Insurance benefits will soon run out. Natural Resources Minister Derick Dally, the MHA for Isles of Notre Dame has called the loss devastating and was quick of the mark to offer moral and government support for those impacted.
He began the process of co-coordinating a response well before provincial government offices opened up on Monday to determine what existing programs can be of assistance and work towards a longer term solution for those displaced.
The province, regardless of the political stripe with a majority in the House of Assembly has responded to similar crises in Little Catalina and when the paper mills closed in Grand Falls-Windsor and Stephenville.
It did not take the opposition parties long to get in on the action by calling for government to act swiftly to provide assistance, as if the local MHA and government did not realize the devastating ramifications for the region.
I am sure all the parties are genuine in their concern for those impacted, but this is not a time to try and score political points.
Lets hope that unlike Ocean Choice International which thew 170 people out of work after Hurricane Igor destroyed the shrimp plant in Port Union, that Breakwater Fisheries will rebuild in the community and not abandon the plant workers that helped make them so profitable over the years.
Government needs to ascertain the companies intentions right away, so that the people of New World Island do not have to endure a repeat of the OCI fiasco. The company waited 15 months after the Hurricane pass making the shocking announcement to abandon the town forever!
Breakwater Fisheries Ltd. was established in 1986. Breakwater
operates fish processing facilities in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. The
principal products produced for export are Snow Crab (Opilio), Capelin