Raspberry Point planning oyster expansion as sales begin to recover
Company 'optimistic' business will get back to pre-COVID levels by time new facility is built
The Raspberry Point Oyster Company is planning to build a new 30,000-square-foot storage and processing facility on P.E.I.'s North Shore.
James Power, general manager of the company, says the expansion could bring up to 20 new jobs to the Cavendish area adding to the 40 people they currently employ.
"We're hoping that as our business expands we'll be looking for more workers. This year, unfortunately, we had a little bit of a setback of course with everybody else but we still plan on expanding in the future. And that includes more workers."
The project has already gone through an environmental assessment. The company has also applied for a height variance. A public meeting will be held July 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cavendish Visitor Information Centre to discuss the matter. It would then go to council for a vote, said Matthew Jelley, mayor of the resort municipality.
The new facility will be close to the present building and will serve much of the same function — processing and storage — except on a larger scale.
"Basically what we do is we wash and pack oysters, so oysters that we take out of New London Bay, they go through a washer, get graded into boxes and shipped out," Power said.
Power said about half the oysters they process are shipped outside Canada.
He said they are back up to about 50 per cent of sales from this time last year.
If the project gets approval from the local council, he hopes construction can begin sometime this summer despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Probably the reason that we decided to go ahead was that it's going to take a year or two to get the building finished," Power said.
"So we're very optimistic that in the amount of time it takes us to build the building that we hope to get businesses back to our pre-COVID levels."
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With files from Angela Walker