Maple Leaf plant winds down, plants to sell
Published: August 24, 2011 7:00 AM
Weeks before its Cloverdale plant will shut down, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. says it’s selling the facility to another processed meat company that plans to re-open it next year.
Maple Leaf spokesperson Linda Smith said the plant is still scheduled to close on Sept. 30. But the company has found a buyer in Premium Brands.
The food company plans to refurbish the plant and relocate its Richmond, B.C.-based Grimms Fine Foods operation to the 5523 176 Street, Surrey, location by the end of 2012.
In February, Maple Leaf announced plans to close the Cloverdale plant, launching the months-long process of winding down operations here, and issuing layoff notices to 155 employees.
Earlier this month, the plant closed its factory outlet shop. Colourful letters in the window spelled out, “We are closing Aug. 12.” That week, longtime customers picking up their last purchases could be seen saying goodbye to staff with hugs.
Customers appreciated niceties like hams cut in half for seniors on thrifty budgets.
Residents and businesses in downtown Cloverdale always know when the factory is making sausage – there’s a telltale scent of smoke.
At the time of the original announcement that the facility was to be shut down, closure costs – including severance and decommissioning the facility – were anticipated to come in at approximately $12.1 million.
The Cloverdale plant – previously a Schneiders Foods – produced prepared meat products: ham, sliced meat, sausage and deli products for western Canada.
Maple Leaf is consolidating its production facilities in Saskatoon, Manitoba and Ontario.
In February the company said severance packages for the affected Cloverdale employees would go beyond provincial labour requirements. As well, the company promised to provide personal counselling, outplacement services and other support to employees laid off as a result of the closure. They would also be encouraged to seek employment at the company’s other facilities.
Once the move from the leased facility to new digs in Cloverdale is complete, the plant will re-open as a Grimms, bringing an additional 50 to 60 jobs beyond the number currently employed at the Richmond facility, Smith said.
Maple Leaf’s Cloverdale employees have been told that they’re encouraged to apply for those new positions.
“We’re happy that we were able to sell [the Cloverdale plant] and it will continue to have a life in the food business and potentially provide employment for the employees, should they apply for those jobs,” Smith said.
Note the recent article Oct 2012
Towers, not sausages, eyed for Grimms site
Grimm’s was a long established family -run company that sold out several year ago to a a larger firm. It was one of the original businesses that established in what was called Brighouse Industrial Estates, a City of Richmond venture that bought the old 600 acre Brighouse Farm and developed it into Industry and Light commercial area.
FYI :The Olympic Oval was built on the last remaining vacant parcel from this 600 acre farm.
Regardless, another long established Richmond business and the jobs it provided will be GONE, relocating elsewhere. As well, more job – creating “commercially- zoned” land will disappear and in its place more Hi – Rise residential will flood an already glutted condo market.
Of course……..down the street, the old Stacy’s furniture site and adjoining property will soon be demolished as well, again displacing jobs and building several hundred more residential units.
These were rather large well — established companies, who could afford the high property taxes, even after ” higher and best use” assessments drove them up. What I see left in this area are much smaller businesses, far more vulnerable to high taxes and a slowing economy.
Duly note, business tenants do not have the same protections as residential tenants, and can be evicted on short notice. In addition, what we are seeing is that even the very viable ones are finding it difficult to re-locate, given a shortage of available sites… as they are competing with other evicted companies for commercial space, and the City has not made any major attempts to re-zone property to replace the lost commercially zoned land.
The irony is that these new residential hi- rises will contain some retail space on the first street level floor, but the vast majority of them are vacant, which looks unsightly with papered over windows….and due to the fact that few business can afford the rents.
In the end, as I have stated previously, when you lose the commercial tax base…….ultimately the residential taxes will shoot up.
The City ” rationale ” is that in their minds? vision ?, they will create “mini villages”.
For example: if there is a cluster of towers , let’s say 10 hi- rise towers in a block. The City model is that retail spaces exist in the ground floor. This will facilitate and satisfy shopping needs..ie in their idealistic model, foods stores, clothes…etc will be in walking distance…thus less need for a car..thus less carbon footprint….(back to the Go Green GAIA cult ). What they don’t realize is that it takes years to build a business…and their is a high failure rate. Given the triple net facet of business leases, I can already predict an even higher failure rate for any business that tries to locate in these new spaces in the Hi Rise condos. Most of these condos are empty, bought on speculation and do not even have full time residents to patronize these potential businesses. In addition, I highly doubt condo dwellers want to stay confined to their block…it is human nature to want to get out and go to different locales, farther aways, and not feel like a prisoner.
This is simply a disaster in the making
QUESTION : Why is the City REALLY doing this ?….it seems to make no sense ? As I have also stated several times….Re -zoning land to “higher and better uses” is like the Federal Reserve….the Local Gov’t equivalent of printing money. Take the Grimms site. By changing the OCP, the City can generate, as a rough estimate 3 – 4 times the property tax revenue for the same site than via the old zoning under the old OCP. That increased tax revenue is generated almost immediately, even if the factory stays there for years. However, what many companies realize is that the writing is on the wall, this hurts their bottom line….and they move to cheaper areas. I see none of this trickling down to benefit the citizens, ie lower taxes…..I put this into the context of analogizing the City as drug addicts….Martha Stewart on crack . They are far more focussed on re-decorating the City according to their frivolous whims than worrying about the basic infrastructure , or respecting the taxpayers ability to pay. They at City Hall seem to think everyone has Million Dollar homes, and Mercedes / BMW’s etc. all is well via (shallow) visual appearances No they don’t. Richmond , unfortunately, has a high percentage of people who live below the poverty line.
The sad ugly truth is, the more disconnected these “Martha Stewart Diva’s” at City Hall are from reality, the more people they will drag below the poverty line.
We already have the makings of a ghost town, and I really do not see it getting any better in the near future .