SAINT-FRANÇOIS-DE-MADAWASKA, NB – Olymel l.p. and Groupe Westco officials have broken ground on the Sunnymel poultry slaughtering and processing plant, which is valued at more than $40 million (US$41 million) and is expected to create about 250 jobs.

This plant will be located in the Village of Clair in the Madawaska region, and will occupy approximately 6430 sq. m. (128,600 sq. ft.) on a 250,000-sq.-m. plot (2,500,000 sq. ft.). Once operating, the facility will have a slaughtering capacity of 450,000 birds/week, enabling it to serve the entire Maritimes market. The construction, which should take about a year to complete, will be carried out in two phases.

Phase one involves site development. Work to prepare the site of the plant has been underway since mid-August. The preparatory work includes building an access road and a work area for contractors, drainage and leveling of the site to accommodate infrastructures and fencing off the site. This extensive series of tasks that precede the start of plant infrastructure construction represents an investment of $ 2.2 million (US$2.23 million) The work is predicted to be completed by Nov. 1.

Construction, including foundations, installation of water conduits and the erection of buildings, begins this fall. Invitations to tender for the construction of the facilities have already been completed. This phase should last one year, and executives said the plant will be equipped with the most advanced, efficient equipment in the poultry processing industry in the areas of production and bio-safety, as well as environmental protection. The project contributes more than $40 million (US$41 million) into the New Brunswick economy.

Sunnymel has already passed the environmental assessment process, which began at the end of 2010 and received certification of a favorable decision from the New Brunswick Department of Environment on June 30. Sunnymel has also met all the conditions contained in the Certificate of Determination by obtaining the approval of the Environmental Management Plan as well as approval for the construction from the Department of Environment.

Olymel l.p. President and CEO Réjean Nadeau and Groupe Westco President and CEO Thomas Soucy are grateful that the project has finally come to fruition.

"As partners, we have done our homework,” they said in a joint statement. “We have always believed that the union of a large processor and distributor firmly established in Canada, such as Olymel, with the largest poultry producer in New Brunswick, Groupe Westco, was the best solution for the future of the poultry industry in the Maritimes. By pooling our expertise and know-how we will reap the benefits of farm-to-plate integration, a business model that is better able to meet the needs of the entire poultry chain, from producers to distributors and consumers.”