New Saputo plant planned for PoCo

A 20-acre site on Kingsway Avenue in Port Coquitlam may soon be home to a Saputo dairy plant.

A 20-acre site on Kingsway Avenue in Port Coquitlam may soon be home to a Saputo dairy plant.

Tuesday, the city’s smart growth committee will review a development permit bid by the Beedie Group, which owns the former Esco foundry site at 1889 Kingsway Ave., to build a milk processing facility in the heavy-industrial neighbourhood.

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Saputo was not immediately available to comment on the application before The Tri-City News’ print deadline today (Thursday); however, according to the public company’s quarterly report ending March 31 — released last week — it noted the $240-million project in its three-year capital expenditure plan “to better serve the market in Western Canada.”

Saputo is the largest cheese manufacturer and leading fluid milk and cream processor in the country, distributing nearly 232 million litres of product a year in B.C. — with three-quarters of it going to locations around Metro Vancouver.

Saputo plans to fund the construction of the PoCo facility with the $218 million it will gain from the sale of its Burnaby facility, which is set to close next year (it will continue to lease that site until the PoCo building is ready, in 2021).

If approved by the PoCo committee on June 19, the facility will include two buildings covering 358,093 sq. ft., with 353 parking spaces and 34 loading bays.

Committee chair, Coun. Brad West, said the business will provide “an infusion of really good-paying jobs in our community. You don’t see a lot of large-scale industrial developments going up like this any more.”

He added, “To me, it’s such a positive…. We want to see more of these types of things happening in the future.”

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