While driving along the South coast of Newfoundland, I was exploring every side road. I was surprised to see a small harbour with a large building and a few vehicles parked around it. Initially, I wrote it off and looked for a place to turn around. After a second glance, I realized that there were some gaping holes in the wall and no activity inside. Perhaps this warranted a closer look at what turned out to be a fish processing plant.
Incomplete at this time, my research thus far seems to indicate the plant was built in the 1950's or '60's as a government project to modernize and centralize fish processing operations in Newfoundland. Years of issues managing the fishing resource have caused the plant to be opened and closed repeatedly, keeping employment in the area always in question.
I was able to determine that the province expropriated the plant in 1988, from Eldorado Seafoods Ltd. It was then leased to Conpak Seafoods until it closed again in December, 1993. It lay dormant until, in August, 1996, it was announced that it would reopen as a joint venture between H.B. Dawe Ltd. of Newfoundland, and Ancoba Inc. of Montreal, Quebec. By 1998, the province had to get involved in labour issues between the owners and workers. I have been unable to determine what happened after that, or when the plant finally closed down.
I spoke with a gentleman on the wharf who told me that the owners had walked away with anything of value one day, and that was the end. Livelihood in the community dropped to near nothing as people moved elsewhere to piece their lives back together. A tale told over and over in so many communities throughout the province.