Kodiak's decision to shut down the Terra Nova Shoes boot factory in Harbour Grace will deal a punishing economic blow in Conception Bay, an area MHA says.
"I was absolutely flabbergasted," said Liberal MHA Sam Slade, who represents the district of Carbonear-Harbour Grace in the House of Assembly.
Kodiak Group Holdings said Tuesday it can no longer afford to keep running Terra Nova Shoes, a factory that has gone through several owners since it was founded in 1971.
About 80 people will lose their jobs, although Slade said the economic benefits from the factory extend well beyond the main workforce.
many people working in that plant from many parts of my district, and so that gives me some great concerns," Slade said in an interview.
"It's also the spinoff jobs that were there. The truckers coming with the leather and moving out with the finished product. The number of people that that affects — it's absolutely unbelievable."
Kodiak said that all of the workers at the factory are being offered severance packages, but not necessarily a job at its new plant in Cambridge, Ont. Instead, workers will have to apply to work there.
Slade told CBC News that he does not think that many of the workers will file applications.
"In a lot of cases, that's not an opportunity for a lot of those people up in that plant," he said. "A lot of those people in that plant are much older workers, so you [have] to uproot the family to move to Cambridge … So it's not an opportunity, not as far as I'm concerned."
Kodiak said the Terra Nova plant was closing because it is too expensive to make boots in eastern Newfoundland and then ship them to Ontario for distribution.
The plant is scheduled to close at the end of November.