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Punch drunk
By Tom VanDusen - AgriNews Staff Writer

The melodramatic, neverending saga that is the 12-year story of Seaway Valley Farmers Energy Co-Operative is probably not over.

Perhaps... but probably not.

Run out of Cornwall earlier this year by a council that decided it no longer had room for primary industry in its new aroma-free environment, the co-op board looked like it was finally about to throw in the towel after bucking all the odds.

If that turns out to be the case, Cornwall council can never be fully blamed for killing the dream. Too many other things were going wrong with Seaway co-op and have always gone wrong.

But the 2007 council could get to wear the legacy of having administered the final coup de grâce. That's probably not something councillors care about now... but they could come to care about how they're portrayed when the saga is told and retold in regional histories.

As proof that the Seaway saga never ends, shortly after council's decision, some shareholders started to make rumblings - legal and otherwise - about the financial state of affairs at the co-op. They want answers to several specific questions and are going to do what it takes to get them.

And now there's word that, with the last remaining vestiges of its collective willpower, the board is exploring the possibility of relocating.

The superhuman determination reminds us of a punch drunk fighter stumbling about the ring, pulling himself up off the mat time and again just before the final count.

While board members are being circumspect as to specific sites they're considering, one of them is believed to be the vacated Nestlé Canada plant in Chesterville.

One thing is certain, says Seaway immediate past president Richard Lavigne... the window of opportunity in terms of relocation is very narrow.

Having followed the saga for the duration, here at The AgriNews we're also feeling punch drunk. We're not sure whether to wish the board well... or to hope for a merciful final knockout punch.



Eastern Ontario AgriNews is published on the third Monday of each month. The printed version is distributed free by postal mail to farms in Eastern Ontario, Canada.

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