Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sutton Filtex Plant

The Filtex plant, suttons disaster area revisited
By M. Helmuth Starhemberg
Winter is a blessing for Sutton because tourists cannot use the lovely bicycle path that follows the railroad and thus cannot see the ugliest part of this otherwise bucolic town: The Filtex Plant. Now that everything is in bloom, people begun to walk and bike and are surprised when their children point up to the graffitty with the "F" word in plain sight. The sprawling complex of approximately 100,000 feet has been closed and pretty much abandoned since Filtex ended operations in Sutton in 2004.

This ugly eyesore is the last incarnation of a company that started production of a variety of yarns in 1955 when the firm was known as Yardex. At its peak the company employed 160 people and former manager Charles Talbot remembers a time when the employment peaked at 202. In the last decade before the closing, an average of 70 locals were employed at the plant.
After closing the place, the owners tried to sell it to the town to "create much needed greenspace and parking". At that time, six years ago, they wanted in excess of $ 350,000.- for it. Meanwhile, the town has realized that part of the land upon which the plant exists, is a lease to the railroad and thus unuseable, additionally, environmental studies show that the ground beneath at least a part of this facility is so heavily contaminated that the whole place would have to be razed and severe soil remediation measures will have to take place before the acreage can be put to any further use.
The current listing realtor, Linda Bresee, sees very little hope in selling the plant (price now is in the $ 250,000.- range) and another realtor in Sutton told us that "it will cost more than $ 350,000 just to tear down this mess". Asked, the town, through a spokeswoman, told us that the town of Sutton has "not the slightest interest in inflicting the cost of rehabilitating or razing the facility at taxpayers expenses. We have made numerous tries to contact the owners but our telephone calls have not been answered.
Says local councillor Louis Dandenault: "If they give it to us for a nominal Dollar, we could possibly do something with it ,but to pay for a building that needs to be torn down it is ridiculous".
Ridiculous is what most people in Sutton have come to call this situation. A large tract of the most beautiful land in one of the most environmentally friendly towns in theTownships is a mess of crumbling concrete, graffity, dangerous open windows where children have been seen to climb into and completely ignored by its owners (which do pay taxes amounting to $ 4.517.- to the town annually), pretty cheap for 100,000 square feet when people on the mountain pay about the same taxes for a chalet annually.

 Former general manager Mr. Talbot disagrees with the decision to close the plant down because he went on and managed  another yarn company who, through making the best possible quality product did not only stave off the cheap stuff from the Far East but expanded operations because "quality will always be appreciated" and "if you want to downgrade quality for quantity, do not blame foreign competitions but look at your own incompetence to position yourself in a competitive marketplace".
Needless to say, the last real "place of business" in Sutton is history and the local employment is now the ski mountain, the local I.G.A, Couche Tard, Home Hardware, restaurants, the seasonal golf course and the elusive job at the municipal garage.
Sutton needs clean industry, Bromont has been able to find it through high tech and non polluting companies, so has Knowlton. But first, Sutton has to rid itself of this gross monstrosity in the center of town: The Filtex Plant!

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