Parmalat gets GF2 funds for new Winnipeg milk plant

(Dave Bedard photo)

Dairy giant Parmalat is set to get federal and Manitoba government funding toward its planned new $50 million milk plant in Winnipeg.

The two levels of government on Tuesday pledged $2.5 million toward the construction of Parmalat’s new dairy plant at an industrial park in the city’s St. Boniface area, about seven km east of the company’s existing century-old facility.

“This expansion is important to the future of the food processing and dairy industries in Manitoba and we are committed to seeing this project move forward,” provincial Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn said in a release.

The public funds, provided through the federal/provincial Growing Forward 2 (GF2) ag policy funding framework, are to be used for energy- and water-use reduction equipment, wastewater treatment and new processing equipment.

Replacing the aging building with a new plant in a new location “will allow the company to increase production with modern equipment in a neighbourhood more suitable for its business,” the governments said.

The current Parmalat plant, which came to the Italian company’s Canadian arm when it took over Beatrice Foods in 1997, is in a residential area of St. Boniface, not far from the city’s downtown and hemmed in on all sides.

Winnipeg’s city hall announced in July that it would sell the city-owned property in St. Boniface to Parmalat Canada for $2.625 million. The city, the province and Parmalat are to cover the $5.61 million cost to extend services such as electricity and water to the new site, offset by the sale of the land.

The new plant “will set Parmalat up for success in Winnipeg and will position the company to act as a catalyst attracting further business to St. Boniface Industrial Park,” Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said in Tuesday’s release.

“Local dairy producers have been extremely supportive in providing us with the raw materials to make a world-class product, and this investment shows our company’s commitment and support of agriculture in Manitoba,” Jean Paul Quiblier, vice-president of operations for Parmalat Canada, said in the same release.

Parmalat’s current workforce across Manitoba includes 139 people at the St. Boniface milk plant and its cheese and creamery facilities at Grunthal and St. Claude, respectively.

“New hires” are also expected once the new St. Boniface plant comes online in 2017, the governments said. — Network

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