Abattoir will finally be a reality

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
March 25th, 2012

After four years of hard work and advocacy funding is finally in place for the construction of a mobile abattoir for the Boundary region.

The realization of years of work for volunteers committed to reviving the flagging meat production in the East Boundary area, the project’s final piece in the funding puzzle fell into place as Western Economic Diversification Canada agreed to contribute $240,000.

“This is only a small part of the future that meat producers can benefit from in the region,” said Doug Zorn, past president of the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society (GFBRAS) and key volunteer working on the abattoir project.

“It’s been half a decade of work – a long, hard road. I’d like to thank all the people involved over the years to push this forward and they should be proud of the work that was done. Now that we’ll have this in place we need to demonstrate how this opens up many possibilities to move forward for all current and future meat producers – new markets, and increased sales.”

This, along with commitments from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities, and the provincial Meat Transition Assistance Program, provides a total of over $400,000 for construction of the custom multi-species mobile abattoir and to buy a hauling vehicle.

On Tuesday, Mar. 20, member of parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla Dan Albas announced the contribution in federal funding for the mobile unit at Gallery 2 with an audience of dignitaries including Regional District of the Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) chair Marguerite Rotvold and Area D director Irene Perepolkin, as well as Community Futures Boundary general manager Wendy McCulloch.

“I am confident that these kinds of investments helps make sure the West remains strong, and a stronger west means a stronger Canada,” said Albas. “Our government is proud to invest in the agri-food industry. By supporting local meat and poultry industries, we are working to promote a solid foundation that will create jobs…Congratulations and I celebrate the success here.”

 The GFBRAS, the organization putting the project together, is now actively tendering the construction for the licenced mobile abattoir which they anticipate could be operating by this fall.

“Although small lot agriculture and vibrant local food sheds are clearly associated with healthy economies and surrounding local communities, they lack the lobbying power of a lot of the larger scale operations,” said Roly Russell, current president of GFBRAS. “I want to thank and gratefully accept the work of the federal government to help defend and support local food systems.”

Zorn encourages meat producers in the area to attend an upcoming meeting on Saturday, Mar. 31 at 1 p.m. at the RDKB offices in Grand Forks to discuss the next steps for the meat industry in the Boundary.

Categories: GeneralPolitics