New ven­ture in place

Ha­ley Street Adult Ser­vices re­ceives fund­ing to pro­duce wood pel­lets

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - BY JULIE COLLINS jcollins@cb­post.com

An off­hand re­mark about the short­age of wood pel­lets has trans­lated into a new en­ter­prise for the Ha­ley Street Adult Ser­vices Cen­tre.

“With all the press around the short­age of wood pel­lets, some­body said well why don’t we make wood pel­lets,” ex­plained so­ci­ety ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor De­bra Ma­cLean. “Our wood pro­duc­tion of­fi­cer Ran­dall Fin­ni­gan came into the of­fice. We dis­cussed the idea and within a half hour I was on the phone with (At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency) and within a week we had pro­pos­als in for fund­ing sup­port.”

The so­ci­ety is ex­pand­ing its port­fo­lio of so­cial en­ter­prises ahead of the 2015 home-heat­ing sea­son through ACOA’s in­no­va­tive com­mu­ni­ties fund, which is pro­vid­ing a $37,323 con­tri­bu­tion to help pur­chase equip­ment to es­tab­lish a home-heat­ing pel­let man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity.

The fund­ing an­nounce­ment was made on Mon­day by Rob Moore, the min­is­ter of state for ACOA.

The Re­source Re­cov­ery Fund Board Nova Sco­tia also con­trib­uted $12,580 to the pro­ject.

The equip­ment to be ac­quired through this pro­ject in­cludes a mill, chip­per, grinder, col­lec­tion drum and bag­ging sys­tem, which will al­low the so­ci­ety to be­gin man­u­fac­tur­ing pel­lets.

Ma­cLean ex­pects ev­ery­thing to be in place and op­er­a­tional within three months.

“We feel we are on the front edge of re­cy­cling tech­nol­ogy, it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing for us that we’ve been ap­proved.”

The pel­lets will be sold at the so­ci­ety’s main fa­cil­ity on Ha­ley Street, North Syd­ney, at Nora’s New to You thrift store on Main Street, Syd­ney Mines, and sev­eral other lo­cal re­tail­ers.

“Once we have ev­ery­thing up and run­ning, we an­tic­i­pate that we will be able to hire a cou­ple of our par­tic­i­pants at min­i­mum wage to work in the pro­duc­tion of the pel­lets — it’s a win/win for us. It gives us an op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate rev­enue the cen­tre needs, and also gives us the op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide em­ploy­ment for our par­tic­i­pants.”

Ma­cLean said this fits within with the man­date of the cen­tre, which is to pro­vide sup­port for par­tic­i­pants to be in­volved in all as­pects of the com­mu­nity.

“This in­cludes em­ploy­ment, that is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to us.”

The busi­ness ven­ture is ex­pected to cre­ate one full-time po­si­tion and pro­vide part-time em­ploy­ment for an ad­di­tional four pro­gram par­tic­i­pants.

Ha­ley Street Adult Ser­vices Cen­tre is a vo­ca­tional train­ing fa­cil­ity for adults with dis­abil­i­ties. The cen­tre started in the late 1960s as a drop-in ac­tiv­ity cen­tre run by vol­un­teers. It was a place for peo­ple to gather and so­cial­ize af­ter they had fin­ished their ed­u­ca­tion.

“Over the years we’ve evolved and changed to meet com­mu­nity de­mands,” said Ma­cLean. “We re­ally pri­or­i­tize re­cy­cling and reusing re­sources within the com­mu­nity. That’s our man­date with Nora’s, that’s been our man­date with kin­dling, and now it’s the same thing with the wood pel­lets. The idea of reusing and keep­ing things from go­ing to the land­fill.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ha­ley Street Adult Ser­vices Cen­tre par­tic­i­pants from left, Paul Mitche­li­tis, Peter Eyk­ing and An­drew Gouthro, col­lect saw­dust in prepa­ra­tion for wood pel­lett pro­duc­tion.

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