CORNWALL, Ontario - The curds will live again.
In St-Albert today, in the company of several comunity members and stakeholders, the management of Fromagerie St-Albert today held the official sod-turning for the new cheese factory, seven months after the terrible fire that burned down the building on Feb. 3.
The reconstruction is expcted to cost $30 million.
Senior advisor and spokesperson for the Fromagerie, Réjean Ouimet, still has trouble believing how quickly the project came together.
"It normally takes businesses years to plan the construction of a new building of this size," he said. "I am deeply grateful to everyone who backed us over the last few months. Without the loyalty of our clients and the support of the community, our employees, our partners and our members, we would not have been able to set up this kind of project in such a short a time.”
The new building will measure 76,000 square feet, or one-third more than the old one.
It will also have a restaurant and a museum.
Its production capacity will be double what it was.
"We wanted to do more than just replace the old building, we wanted to actually innovate,” said executive director Éric Lafontaine.
The new cheese factory is expcted to begin producing its tasty fare by March, while the factory likely won't open to the public until next summer.
Founded in 1894, the cheese factory was one of the first Franco-Ontarian co-operatives. Since then, five generations of dairy producers have succeeded one another in the co-operative.
Today, Fromagerie St-Albert is owned by some 50 members. Once it reopens, it will have approximately 100 employees.