Peters now looking into operating abattoir

It has been months since the Rainy River District Regional Abattoir board has seen progress on the establishment of a facility in the area.
But it’s not at a stand-still.
The board accepted a proposal last week from Sunrise Meat and Sausage in Barwick, owned by Paul and Susan Peters, to operate a district abattoir.
The change in direction came on the heels of an announcement from Northend Farms Ltd., which indicated it would not be undertaking the lease and operation of an abattoir.
The board had begun discussions with the farm’s owners back in December after they submitted an expression of interest, along with another candidate, and were selected to become involved in the project.
Business plans were being drafted between the two parties, but Northend Farms Ltd. ultimately decided it couldn’t continue with the process.
“I’m going to plan to go with a smaller operation—I want just a smaller kill-floor,” Paul Peters said about the feasibility of his proposal.
“I have the [processing] facility here already, so if I can attach it to this facility . . . it could work out,” he added.
But Peters also stressed they’re only in the very beginning stages of the proposition.
“I’m looking into it, but there’s still lots to go through,” he noted. “Everything’s still up in the air . . . I have to see if it’s feasible to do.”
Peters indicated they have yet to check with the municipality and other parties regarding permits and regulations.
“But that’s what I’d like to do, if possible—attach it here and I could just do the whole process right here,” he added, noting he’s looking at a provincially-licensed abattoir as opposed to the federal one previously suggested.
“If it’s provincially-inspected, [the meat] can go anywhere in the province,” he explained.
Peters said since he’s no longer able to process uninspected meat at his facility, business has been slow.
They have been organizing loads to be sent to the closest abattoir in Dryden, but that adds an extra cost for the transportation and puts stress on the animal.
“Having one here would be much better,” Peters remarked, adding he would like to service the entire district.
“That’s my goal—I want to service the community,” he stressed.
Peters will begin a business planning process and review using Mallot Creek Strategies Inc. as consultants.
“We’re glad Paul and Susan [Peters] have made a proposal to explore establishing and operating an abattoir,” said RRDRA president Steve Loshaw, adding that without their proposal, the board would have been starting over from scratch.
“They have an excellent reputation in the district for quality and integrity,” he added.
Loshaw stressed it’s a complicated process to mesh the different legislative requirements, but noted the board still is looking towards a June, 2008 opening date for an abattoir.
“It takes time, but I don’t see why we can’t do it,” he remarked.
The RRDRA incorporated last August, and has a current membership of 84 members who have paid a $500 membership fee and committed to a $2,000 loan.
Memberships still may be purchased through the Rainy River Future Development Corp. office in Fort Frances.