It could be a case of switching from soup to hot dogs.
The provincial government is helping to turn the former Campbell’s Soup factory in Listowel into a poultry processing plant, eventually creating 500 new jobs in North Perth, as part of its Open Ontario Plan, Perth-Wellington MPP John Wilkinson, announced last week.
“The antidote for a lost job is a new job, so today is an historic day for North Perth and area that provides people with renewed hope for new jobs,” he said.
Erie Meat Products Limited, owner of the new Listowel Cold Storage site, is expected to hire and train 500 workers over the next three years to process chicken and turkey meat for sale around the world.
The province is spending nearly $3-million at the Listowel site. Funding is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs under its rural economic development fund.
The money will allow Erie Meat Products to get refrigeration and new production lines running at the plant.
“The County of Perth values the province’s investment at the Listowel Cold Storage -Erie Meat facility,” said Perth County Warden Julie Behrns.
“Agri-food is a key sector in Perth County, and this investment will not only allow for improved innovation and efficiencies for this food processing facility, but will also provide meaningful jobs for this community.”
Director of business and development for Erie Meats George Tiesma said, “Erie Meats is excited about expanding our operations in the Town of North Perth and delighted that our growth plans have Ontario as a strong partner. This investment is part of our ambitious plan to bring this plant back to life.”
He added, “We are grateful for all the help we have received from the people and businesses of North Perth and especially from the province. John Wilkinson has been a tireless advocate for us at Queen’s Park, and we are very grateful for his support.”
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Carol Mitchell added, “The global demand for poultry is growing every day.
“Erie Meat will serve as a vital contributor to our agri-food sector, to our growing workforce and to building a brighter future for Listowel families.”
Erie Meat Products of Mississauga bought the 50-year-old soup factory, which had been the biggest employer in the region until it closed when the recession hit, throwing 500 people out of work.
The company expects to sell about four tonnes of wieners a day out of the factory, and hopes to be operational by year’s end.