Borden-Carleton businesses optimistic about town’s future thanks to McCain grants

Some businesses and community members in the Borden-Carleton, P.E.I, area are feeling optimistic about the town’s future after a financial boost from a major Canadian company.

Nine Borden-Carleton businesses, as well as the town’s municipal government, received grants earlier this week from McCain Foods.

The Florenceville, N.B., based food manufacturer contributed $2 million to local companies as a part of a transition fund it established following the closure of its Borden-Carleton plant in 2014. The shuttered french fry plant resulted in 121 lost jobs.

‘All kinds of good prosperity’

Matt Silliker’s company, Silliker Glass, received a $300,000 McCain grant. He said the funding will help his company expand both in terms of its overall shop space and the size of its staff.

“We’re about 27 full time jobs now. We’re hoping to be between 70 and 80 within the next 12-18 months,” Silliker said.

Silliker added the grants awarded to his company and others in Borden-Carleton will have a positive impact on the local economy. 

Matt Silliker

Matt Silliker, owner of Silliker Glass in Borden-Carleton, said the McCain funding will benefit the entire community. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

“Economic growth will drive all kinds of good prosperity out this way for sure,” he said.

“It’s going to be huge for our employees, it’s going to be huge for us and you know, the glass industry in Atlantic Canada as well.”

‘A bit of shocker’

Mitch Townsend has witnessed the effects economic downturn have had on his community over the past several years. The 28-year-old lives in Borden-Carleton and works at Silliker Glass.

When McCain ceased its operations in Borden-Carleton, he said it came as “a bit of shocker” to not just the employees, but to many in the town. While he admitted living in the community has its fair challenges, he said the recent funding announcement comes as a source of much-needed good news.

“It’s good for the town, it’s going to help the town grow,” he said. It seems like some things are closing, but now that more money is coming back into the community, I think it’s going to be great, help kind of revive it a bit in a way, give people more jobs, just bring people back into the community.” 

More new jobs means more homes sold

Atlantic Beef Products is another company in Borden-Carleton that will benefit from the McCain grants. According to Russ Mallard, the company’s president, the funds will be used to purchase new equipment for its plant. Mallard said ongoing expansion at Atlantic Beef Products could result in the creation of 18-20 new jobs for the area.

Mallard echoed the sentiments of other local companies. He said the McCain grants don’t just benefit local businesses, since new jobs mean more people buying homes or renting right in Borden-Carleton. 

Russ Mallard

Atlantic Beef Products president Russ Mallard said the influx of new jobs in Borden-Carleton means more people moving into the town. (Noah Richardson/CBC )

“We’ve had a number of people from different countries move into the area over the last number of years. They’ve been here long enough that they’re actually Canadian citizens,” Mallard said.

“They’ve been able to bring their families over. They’re buying houses in Borden and they’re getting their lives straightened away, which is really great for the area.”