Long-term lease to operate at Gray Aqua plant
Mayor Steve Crewe of Hermitage-Sandyville received some great news on April 18 as he was informed by Cooke officials that the company has signed a long-term lease to process fish at the Gray plant in the community.
© Wesley Haris photos
The Gray plant at Hermitage which will be used by Cooke to process salmon striating in June of this year.
According to Mayor Crewe, Cooke Aqua has signed a five-year lease with Gray with an option for another five years after 2019.
"This is great news for the community going forward," Mayor Crewe said. "We've been waiting a long time for something like this, and it's exciting to see that the new Gray plant will finally see some processing."
Nell Halse, an official with Cooke Aqua, said that the company has signed a long-term lease with Gray Aqua Ltd. to process their farmed salmon at that facility starting in early June.
Halse said that the company will process its own fish and product belonging to Gray Aqua when it reaches marketable size.
She said that the company will start processing in early June with anywhere from 20 to 30 employees. She said that as production ramps up the company would hire more people on an as-needed basis.
Halse said that the company will accept applications from the general area as it starts to fill positions needed for processing.
"This will create good employment for the area, "Halse said, "as the processing will be similar to that done at Harbour Breton. We have formed a new company - Hermitage Processing Inc. -for processing and we will start commissioning the plant right away for production in early June."
Roberta Goods from Hermitage worked with Cook Aqua at its former processing facility in Harbour Breton.
"There are lots of excited people in this area," Goods said, "now that Cooke Aqua has said they will start processing fish here in June. I enjoyed working at Harbour Breton but the travel to and from Harbour Breton at night was nerve wrecking in the end, especially when it was foggy.
"I will definitely be applying for a job at the new Cooke operation, and I hope I'm one of the employees at the new facility."
Norma Loveless, from Seal Cove, was also a Cooke employee at Harbour Breton.
"I heard the great news on April 18," Loveless said, "and it certainly made my Easter weekend seem all the much better as it did for a lot of other people.
"I enjoyed working at Harbour Breton but the travel over the road at night was scary given the condition of that section of highway from the Hermitage turn-off to Harbour Breton."
Loveless said that she will definitely apply for a job at the new Cooke operation in Hermitage.