In a big blessing for the agri-food sector in London, Maple Leaf Foods says it plans to build a state-of-the-art 640,000-square-foot fresh poultry facility in the south-east of the city for $ 660 million.
The construction of the poultry processing plant will begin on Wilton Grove Road in Highbury Avenue in the spring, with an opening date set for early 2021, the company said in a statement.
When it is opened, the facility immediately supports more than 1450 full- and part-time jobs – a number that the company claims to grow as production volumes increase. The construction of the factory itself will generate 300 jobs, according to the company.
The project, with a total cost of around $ 660 million, is largely financed by the company itself, with $ 34.5 million from the province, $ 20 million from the federal government and $ 8 million from a loan from the AgriInnovate Fund .
Three aging Maple Leaf plants in Ontario – in St. Marys, Toronto and Brampton – will close and consolidate their operations at the London plant, according to the company. The St. Marys facility will be closed at the end of 2021, while the others will be closed by mid-2022.
"Maple Leaf will work with local communities and the government to find alternative uses for the facilities when they eventually close," the company said in a statement. The company said it plans to provide employees with an impact on employment in the new facility or other factories that the company operates, as well as services to help them find a new job.
In a statement, Prime Minister Doug Ford said it was the largest investment in the history of the agricultural sector of Ontario & # 39 ;.
Ford will be in London Tuesday morning for a formal announcement alongside the federal minister of agriculture and other officials.
"It's great to see that a company like Maple Leaf is investing here in London," said Ford. "This innovative new plant will modernize processing and help make chicken farmers in Ontario more competitive."
According to the London Economic Development Corporation, more than 60 food and beverage companies, including Labatt, McCormick, dr. Oetker, Cargill, Nestle and others, employing more than 7,000 people in London.
The president and CEO of LEDC, Kapil Lakhotia, said that the plan has been the largest addition to the food processing sector in the city over the past twenty years.
"Maple Leaf Foods will provide significant employment and long-term economic benefits for the entire southwest region," he said briefly.
This story will be updated.
With files from The Canadian Press
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