Roquette still “full speed ahead”

Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba, left, joins Roquette’s Pascal Leroy, Head of Pea and New Proteins Business Line, to turn the first shovels full of dirt to begin construction on the company’s new pea protein plan in Portage la Prairie. Photo by James P. Bozikis, Roquette

Production pushed ahead into 2020

Mickey Dumont — 

Portage la Prairie’s business community and coffee shops have been rife with rumours the half-billion dollar Roquette plant here, is in trouble.

Rumours have been circulating for at least two weeks that work at the site has been halted, engineering cost overruns have escalated to nearly a billion dollars and simply that Roquette is no longer interested in being here.

About two weeks ago Vern May, Portage Regional Economic Development executive director said, “I was just in a meeting with them. That never came up. With what we were discussing, it would seem everything is okay,” May said.

“We’re at a stage where we are fine tuning,” explained Jim Bozikis, Roquette communication manager for the Americas. “This is a huge undertaking and if anything, we are measuring twice and cutting only once. We want to get this right.”

Bozikis did say production at the plant has been pushed ahead to “sometime in 2020.

“Initially we planned on late 2019 production, but this is where fine tuning our plans takes us.”

Roquette is not scaling back the scope of its Portage la Prairie operation, the size of the plant it is building here or the number of people it will employ.

“Roquette is committed to building this plant,” Bozikis said.

mickey@theportagecitizen.com

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