Minigoo processing plant to re-open
There are plans to re-open a lobster processing plant on Lennox Island First Nation, on the north coast of P.E.I.
Alan Baker, the band's economic development officer, confirmed Monday that they're just putting the finishing touches on plans to process again this spring.
Baker said it will be "business as usual" come the first of May.
Minigoo Fisheries, the company that ran the plant, went bankrupt last July after only a few months in operation, owing creditors more than $3 million. The only entirely native-owned lobster processing plant in the Maritimes, the operation shut down after the spring lobster fishery.
But, just weeks later, the Lennox Island Band was back in the plant, operating under a slightly different name — Minigoo 2010.
They hired an experienced manager to process lobster from August to November of last year, and about 70 people worked there.
Creditor Chris Deagle, of Deagle Construction, said Minigoo Fisheries went under owing him $140,000 for general contract work.
He said the loss has been extremely hard on his company, and his family.
"If they would have come to the table in good faith and said, 'We'll try, we'll put a package together, we will pay you, it might take some time,' I would have been totally open to that," Deagle said. "But to shut the doors, change the name to Minigoo Fisheries 2010 within a few weeks of shutting the doors…"
Mike McGeoghegan, president of the PEI Fishermen's Association said the plant is a good one, and they hope it will work this time.
"The plant's open, they'll have the fish and I think it's good. I think they can get the markets going," he said.
Last year, the band council admitted that pretty much everything that could go wrong with Minigoo Fisheries, did.
Now, the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq band and fishermen are pinning their hopes on this new company to run the plant successfully.