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Meat plant closes early

Floor being fixed, search on for manager

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

Cambridge Bay (Jun 04/01) - Every year, the Kitikmeot Foods plant in Cambridge Bay closes following the muskox harvest.

The hiatus allows employees and management to clean up and re-organize before the fishing season begins.

While this year isn't any different, two factors caused the plant to shut down earlier than usual.

John Hickes, the president of the Nunavut Development Corporation -- the company that owns the muskox and char processing facility -- said last Thursday the resignation of the manager and large cracks in the floor resulted in the early closure.

"We shut down a week earlier because of a management change," said Hickes, from his office in Rankin Inlet.

Hickes said former manager Gary Connors left Kitikmeot Foods to manage a similar facility in his home town. Connors reportedly left Cambridge Bay last Monday.

Hickes said the local board that manages the plant conducted interviews last week and were in the process of selecting a new manager.

Cracks in the floor are caused by heaving and settling of permafrost. Hickes said the fissures were being dealt with by a renovating crew and a long-term solution to the buckling floor was being sought. He declined to comment on the cost of the repairs until the job was completed. He said that would be within 30 days.

Hickes said the money to pay for the floor would come from the Department of Sustainable Development. The development corporation is overseen by that department.