Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Groupe Lebel will not build a new factory at Squatec

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Groupe Lebel is the main employer in Saint-Michel-du-Squatec, according to the mayor of the municipality Bruno Malenfant. (Archive photo)

  • Patrick Bergeron (View profile)Patrick Bergeron

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Unable to come to an agreement with the Ministry of the Environment, Groupe Lebel abandoned its project to build a new factory in Saint-Michel-du-Squatec.

The president of the forestry company, Frédéric Lebel, confirms that this project, estimated at $35 million, will not see the light of day due to to obtain a certificate of authorization from the ministry. The presence of wetlands was at the heart of the dispute.

Currently, the company has two factories on the territory of the municipality. In September, Groupe Lebel announced an investment of $8 million for one of its current factories. The work will, when completed, allow the installation of a new, fully automated log measuring and classification system in the sawmill.

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The president of Groupe Lebel, Frédéric Lebel

Over the next year, Groupe Lebel managers will evaluate whether they will maintain activities in the two factories or whether they will repatriate all teams to the renovated factory. This time frame is necessary to evaluate the best option, considering the new systems being installed.

We want to see how far we can go with this new technology- there and evaluate what the best options will be.

A quote from Frédéric Lebel, president of Groupe Lebel

Reached by telephone, the mayor of Saint-Michel-du-Squatec, Bruno Malenfant, said he had not been informed of this decision by the leaders of Groupe Lebel. The mayor has difficulty explaining this outing, especially since a meeting with the regional management of the Ministry of the Environment was planned for next week.

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The mayor of Saint-Michel-de-Squatec, Bruno Malenfant

For him, the construction of this new factory, which was planned outside the center of the municipality, could have been the solution to certain problems.

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In this regard, the mayor wanted to remind department officials of the problems related to the traffic of heavy trucks in the city center of his municipality and the potential impact of the two factories on the banks of the Squatec River.

I'm a little in shock, it surprises me that Mr. Lebel announced the abandonment of the project to build a new factory.

A quote from Bruno Malenfant, mayor of Saint-Michel-du-Squatec

Last June, the mayor of Saint-Michel-du-Squatec sent a letter to Prime Minister François Legault to explain to him the impact that the construction of a new factory could have in his municipality. In the document, he emphasized that the arrival of a new factory would allow the safeguarding of around a hundred direct jobs and 300 other indirect ones.

Despite his disappointment, he maintains that Groupe Lebel is in Saint-Michel-du-Squatec to stay there.

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