At Tuesday night’s town council meeting, council received a report recommending approval of two new Industrial Area Community Improvement Plan (IACIP) grant applications, from Maple Leaf Foods and Vins Plastics.
Maple Leaf Foods is seeking $53,703.65 in grant funds under Program 3: Development Fees and Building Permit grant and Program 4: Building Restoration, Renovation and Improvement Grant, while Vins plastics is seeking $50,377.50 under Program 3: Development Fees and Building Permit grant and Program 4: Building Restoration, Renovation and Improvement Grant.
Maple Leaf Foods purchased Cericola Farms, which has a food processing plant located at 65 Reagens Industrial Parkway, in 2018. The site is zoned M1 (General Employment) and is eligible for a CIP grant.
The plant is planning to expand their core frozen poultry production in Bradford as their facility in London builds a 640,000 square foot processing plant expected to open in 2022.
Maple Leaf Foods is proposing a $2.14 million renovation of the Bradford facility, to convert existing cooling facilities to freezers; $305,000 of the total is eligible for CIP funding. Under program 4, the company can receive a grant of up to 50 percent of the eligible amount, to a maximum of $50,000.
The company has also applied under Program 3, to help offset building permit fees. The IACIP grant will cover 50 percent of the total of $7,407.30, or an additional $3,703.65 - bringing the total grant to $53,703.65.
The planned upgrades would add six to nine new jobs in the Town of BWG. The facility currently employs 281 staff, and pays $260,000 in property taxes each year.
Vins Plastics, located at 12 Industrial Court, manufactures flexible packaging materials for food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, and employs over 70 people at the Bradford facility. The company is investing $10 million over the next 2 years, for new and existing machinery to expand the business, that will allow them to hire an additional 21 employees in 2020-2021.
The Bradford company applied for CIP funding to expand parking by 15 to 20 spots, improve lighting, and upgrade their electrical, to support the new equipment. Estimated cost of the work is $148,298.
Vins, which pays around $110K in property taxes every year, applied for CIP grant funding under Program 3 - to cover 50 percent of the $755 cost of planning permits and building permit fees, and 50 percent of the estimated cost of the work, to a maximum of $50,000 - for a total of $50,377.50.
Council was enthusiastic about the applications.
Deputy Mayor James Leduc called it “another good news story” for the town, noting the taxes both companies pay are “huge” for the community, and that the projects will both create new jobs in town.
“They’ve got the confidence in this council to invest and build their business better and stronger,” he said. “I fully support the program.”
Coun. Gary Lamb agreed, noting it was a positive for the BWG business community.
“Nobody’s giving them anything here,” he pointed out, saying the town was simply “Just helping them get over that hump” to improve their businesses.
“This is a huge success for our community,” agreed Coun. Mark Contois, commending the program. “If businesses are going to take advantage of this and come to Bradford, then that’s a positive.”
Mayor Rob Keffer noted that the CIP grant programs help with job retention in BWG.
“We are trying to show the business community we are here to help them and we appreciate what they do for our town,” he said.
Council unanimously voted to approve both applications.