Offal plant being demolished
Two Carbonear business men begin demolition of crumbling structure
An eyesore of a building on Carbonear’s south side is finally being torn down. The Compass learned last week that the old offal plant had been sold, and the new owners immediately called in the heavy equipment to being dismantling the stadium sized structure.
An iconic building in the Town of Carbonear that has stood abandoned and unkept for nearly a decade has officially been sold to two Carbonear businessmen.
Late last week one of two new owners of the offal plant, known to locals as the “meal plant,” confirmed the purchase, but wished to keep details of their identities confidential at this time.
The plant, located at 71 Lower South Side Road, has been referred to as an “eyesore” by some townspeople due to the appalling exterior, which lost part of its roof and some metal siding in recent years.
It was left in such a deteriorated state that the town council ordered a demolition order for the site last fall.
The new purchaser said they were both aware the order was in place when they bought the structure and decided to demolish it rather than repair the excessive damage.
“We knew about the demolition order before we purchased the property,” he told The Compass. “We’re just basically knocking it down, cleaning it up and waiting to see what we’re going to do with it next.”
The plant was previously owned by a company known as Island ByProducts.
Demolition on the site began May 20 when a contracting company began work on the site.
Mayor Sam Slade is delighted by the news due to the safety concerns present with any abandoned building accessible to the public, especially one with equipment still inside.
“We’re pleased to see it coming down,” he said. “It was a haven for kids, and the concern was they were going to go in and knock heavy equipment down on themselves.”
Standing on the hillside beside what remains of the plant, debris and piles of metal can be seen, but not for long.
The purchaser said Stage 1 was to remove all the metal from the build- ing and go from there, but he and his business partner decided to take it one step further.
“We decided just this weekend to have (the contractors) take down the works of it,” the owner explained.
One side of the structure has already been removed, and yellow caution tape has been put up to deter trespassers.
Lockers and heavy equipment that remained inside have now been moved, and many of the large pieces of processing equipment will be removed in the coming days.
Plans for the site
The purchaser said he and his business partner bought the plant for the property, but their plans for the lot are still undetermined.
“We have no firm decision on what we’re going to do,” he stated.
The purchaser said he has heard plenty of rumours around the town on what should happen with the property. One of those rumours is for waterfront properties, more specifically condos.
“We don’t know what we are going to do right now, but that is a possibility of what we can do with the property,” he said, “But like I said, we have to get it cleaned up first, then we’ll assess what we have room for.”
The development will not begin until at least early next year because the purchaser said it “takes time” for making decisions, designing plans and getting permits. Confusion over sold status Officials with the town have been tight-lipped over the sale of the property.
Town Administrator Cynthia Davis said in an email to The Compass the town could not release any information on if or when the sale took place, or to whom until additional information is supplied to them.
“The town can’t confirm anything on a sale until a supplementary assessment is received from the Municipal Assessment Agency,” she wrote.
Even Mayor Sam Slade did not know the site was sold.
He said he didn’t think the plant had “changed hands,” and still belonged to the previous owners.
When contacted, Blair Janes of P. Janes and Sons, one of the companies affiliated with Island By-Products, declined comment, stating it was a business matter.
A little piece of history
Many residents of Carbonear remember the offal plant for its strong smell, but it was a building with plenty of history in the town.
Town records state the plant was opened in the 1970s as a processing plant for the discarded fish parts from other processing plants in the region, and created up to 100 seasonal jobs.
Fish processing was a very important part of Carbonear’s economy until the collapse of cod stocks in the early 1990s, then crab and seal processing became more apparent until the plant closed its doors nearly a decade ago.
The plant was even mentioned in the fiction novel “Honour Thy Mother” by T.C. Badcock.
The inside of the building still contained worker’s lockers and heavy equipment that had been used up until the plant closed.
Even with all its history, many residents are happy to see the building removed, and some are looking forward to what may eventually be built in its place.
Work on the demolition on the Carbonear offal plant on Lower South Side Road began May 20 after being left untouched for nearly a decade.