Less than five months after being named industry of the year by the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce, Enviroshake has announced it will close its Chatham operation.
The move, expected to occur before the end of the year, will put 50 people out of work. Staff at the Riverview Drive plant received notice late last week.
Fears over a shifting of production to the U.S. surfaced two years ago when Headwaters Inc. negotiated to purchase Enviroshake, makers of roof shakes and slate from recycled materials. But the positive attitude and work ethic of the local staff convinced Headwaters to keep the Chatham plant running, and it led to the expansion of the operation from 16 to 50 last year.
But another company, Boral Industries out of Atlanta, purchased Headwaters earlier this year, and, according to previously published reports, that company will now shift production to Michigan.
Stuart McFadden, acting director of economic development for Chatham-Kent, declined to comment as of press time, as he had not yet spoken with company officials.
Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent Essex, said the announced closure is grim news.
“I was sad to learn that Enviroshake would be closing down its Chatham plant. This will certainly have an impact on our community. I hope action is taken to help the 50 affected employees find another job,” he said in a media release. “Enviroshake will be moving some of their production to Michigan – a state with lower hydro rates and no cap-and-trade cash grab. And, whether it’s burdensome red tape or unaffordable taxes, the Wynne Liberals have made our once-great province uncompetitive.”