L-R: Coldstream Ranch owner Keith Balcaen, Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick and Gerry Van Winden, President and CEO of Vegpro International at news conference to announce $60 million investment
Plans for a major new venture in Coldstream have been announced.
Vegpro International has bought 700 acres from the Coldstream Ranch and will be using it to grow and package salad greens for sale in Western Canada.
President Gerry Van Winden says his company is making a 60 million dollar investment in Coldstream.
“That 60 million, it could be divided up in land acquisition, a part of it, and the other part is we’re going to build a packing house where we’re going to wash and pack baby leaf lettuce.”
The Sherrington, Quebec based company plans to hire up to 200 people in its first year, with 150 in the packing house and the rest on the farm.
He says the jobs will start at $15 an hour, but there will be others, such as for engineers, they pay more.
With the site already properly zoned, Van Wiinden says they plan to start building the facility in January and be operating by June.
Coldstream mayor Jim Garlick says he’s happy.
“It’s a good use of farm land, plus it’s value added. The product is grown here and it will be year round.”
The company plans to bring in lettuce, spinach and arugula from California during the winter months which will be packaged in Coldstream and distributed mostly to BC and Alberta.
Coldstream Ranch Owner Keith Balcaen says he was first approached by the company in July.
“I’m very proud and happy. When it first came about I wasn’t sure I wanted to do anything, but once I dug into it, I think it’s a better use of this particular piece of the ranch. It’s not going to impact our operations at all. The acreage that they’re buying, its higher value to grow produce to grow than what we grow, corn and alfalfa,” Balcaen told Kiss FM.
Balcaen says the 700 acres is fully irrigated, and located on the north side of Highway 6 from Buchanan to Grey roads.