$2M budgeted for Maritime beef plant losses
The P.E.I. government is preparing to spend more money to prop up the region's only federally-inspected beef plant.
The government has budgeted $2 million for Atlantic Beef Products in Albany, at the foot of the Confederation Bridge.
The plant opened in 2003 with the support of all three Maritime provinces and the federal government. Since then it has received a series of bail outs. As of September it had lost $30 million. At that time it was bleeding $150,000 a month.
Current losses at the plant are $80,000 to $100,000 a month.
"I think it's good fiscal management that we would set $2 million aside in case we need it," said P.E.I. Agriculture Minister George Webster.
"Obviously we just want to make sure that we have that in our budget in case of an emergency or sudden downturn."
Agriculture critic Jim Bagnall doubts the money government is setting aside this year will be enough.
"I'm surprised that they actually showed it, because normally it's been done behind closed doors where they give them money," said Bagnall.
"To have it on the front line of their budget tells me that there's no way that they're going to get away with less than $2 million and it's probably going to be more."
Webster said a new hamburger line will soon be up and running, and he's hoping that will be the turning point in making the plant profitable.