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Options dwindle for efforts to reopen Kent Trusses

"We decided it was just too rich for our taste."
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kent trusses sign turl 2016

Things are looking bleak for Kent Trusses and its 80 employees after the company sent workers home and shut its doors Aug. 18th. At that time General Manager Chuck Melanson said that, "We are experiencing a temporary production shutdown and will have an update for customers no later than Monday, August 29th." That update hasn't come.

Neither did the employees paychecks.

See related story: Kent Trusses shutdown...100 jobs in jeopardy

Sundridge town council has turned down a request by the company to buy its land and buildings for $3.2m and lease them back.

The decision was made at an emergency council meeting Thursday on the heels of a meeting Aug. 24 between municipal officials, the owner and representatives of the federal government.

See: Big meeting on fate of Kent Trusses today

Different options to save the company were discussed at the meeting. One was having Sundridge and the Township of Strong buy the land and buildings.

See: Kent Trusses: Mayor optimistic but fingers crossed

But it was too much to ask.

"We decided it was just too rich for our taste, something we couldn't really afford within a township our size," said Sundridge Mayor Lyle Hall.

Hall says Kent's owner Julio Cacoilo was disappointed but indicated he would try and find another way out.

"He still had his chin up but it was just another option that limits his ability to get out of here. One by one they seem to be falling," said the mayor.

"Unfortunately we can't seem to step in and help the current management of the business so it's up to them to save themselves or sell."

Hall says the pressure is on to find a solution quickly and that meant the town didn't have time to do due diligence on the purchase. 

Calls and emails by BayToday to company management have not been returned.

A source says the employees have been given their record of employment to allow them to apply for unemployment insurance but have not received vacation pay. There has been no pay increase for the past five years, according to another source.

Hall says the municipality is doing what it can for the employees, which includes advice on its town website.

"I'm a little less optimistic now," said Hall. "I'm a glass half full guy. Something's going to happen. It's too attractive an asset. They've got great sales, nice properties, a terrific name and history. It's something that someone looking for a gem would appreciate."

That being said, the Mayor is at a loss to explain why the company shut down.

"That's beyond me. I've been asked that question a lot, but I don't understand it myself."