The Nova Scotia poultry industry's strategic planning committee, in conjunction with Maple Lodge Holding Corp. of Ontario, is looking into the possibility of acquiring a Maple Leaf Foods Berwick pork processing plant due to close this spring.

Plans were already in the works to build a poultry processing plant in the Kentville Industrial Park, but with the announcement in November of the upcoming closure of the Berwick facility, representatives of the poultry group started talking to Maple Leaf about repurposing the existing plant. Maple Leaf said it would work with all levels of government to find other users for the building. "We believe the Berwick facility provides an excellent opportunity for another food processor," said Rick Young, executive vice president of Maple Leaf Consumer Foods.

Ian Blenkharn, director of a new numbered company representing some Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island poultry producers and Maple Lodge Holding Corp., said the plant is just one option for now. "We still have not made a decision," said Blenkharn. "Our design team and engineering firm continue to investigate the facility and work with Maple Leaf to determine if it is a viable option for our business venture." Whatever its location, the planned poultry processing plant is slated to open by the summer of 2012.