Donair food processing plant coming to Welland

by Dave Johnson, The Tribune

Welland will see a food processing plant open up on Enterprise Drive sometime this year, as well as a 1,800-square-metre facility on another lot at the industrial park off of Highway 140, Mayor Frank Campion told city council Tuesday night.

At its meeting, council approved a bylaw authorizing the acceptance of an offer from Athena Donair Distributors Ltd. for the sale of vacant land at 381 Enterprise Dr.

Campion also said an offer on the former PowerBlades factory, at 615 Rusholme Rd., has been accepted and the city will be meeting with the new owners soon.

Ward 3 Coun. John Chiocchio asked when the Athena Donair plant would be built and how many employees it would have once open.

Campion said while it is up to the proponent to advise how many jobs there would be, he believes it would be several.

“We met with them on site four weeks ago. They were looking in Edmonton, Kitchener and Guelph. After they met with us, they came down to city hall the same day and put an offer in,” said the mayor.

As for when the plant would open, Campion said the proponents want to “get started yesterday.”

Part of the city’s success in attracting the company — according to its website it was established in 1995 and distributes donair meat throughout Alberta and is one of the largest distributors in Canada — was due to its community improvement programs, available land and the ability to get companies in the ground quickly, Campion said.

Ward 4 Coun. Pat Chiocchio congratulated the mayor and city staff for getting the business to come to the city. He said landing GE in 2016 started a ripple effect in the city that has resulted in more businesses coming to Welland.

Campion said it was a team effort with staff and city council working together.

He also advised councillors that one of the people he, city treasurer Steve Zorbas and economic development officer Dan Degazio met with in Cannes, France, last month will be coming to Welland next week to meet with the three.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Campion said he couldn’t talk about who that person is and that he couldn’t provide information on the other two deals either as details are still being worked out.