“Our activities are in Brome Lake, we are Brome Lake Ducks and we will rebuild and remain in Town of Brome Lake,” said the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Claude Trottier in an interview with Tempo in mid-August.

The police report that followed the fire that destroyed the boutique and administrative offices of Brome Lake Ducks on Centre Rd. on July 16th determined that “there were no signs of a criminal act,” said Trottier. The insurance company has yet to complete its inquiry into the fire that caused more than $20 million in damages. “We will rebuild but it will take some time, in the best case scenario we are looking at about a year’s time” said Trottier. In the meantime the company processes the ducks in its facility in Indiana and is able to meet up to 70 percent of its clients needs. “The difficulty now is providing our customers with fresh products.” The new Asbestos processing plant was to be operational by November of this year. “We are trying to proceed faster,” said Trottier.

More than 100 employees lost their jobs as a result of the fire. The company’s Human Resources has set up a special committee with Emploi Québec to help employees find work.

For her part, councillor Louise Morin confirmed that talks are under way between the Town and the Duck Farm to establish, as a joint project, an information centre about ducks in Knowlton. The venue has yet to be determined.

“I have spoken with the mayor on several occasions,” said Trottier, “and we have excellent cooperation from TBL and so many people have offered their help.”

Community effort

The tragedy and the ensuing uncertainty have moved the community of TBL. It has raised some $40,000 dollars in support of the employees who have lost their jobs.

“When we read about the fire, we felt sorrow but we also felt helpless. For what could any of us do?

“I went to the first employee meeting and looked around the room at these men and women,” said Reg Gauthier. “These were not statistics but people I knew. So, right after the meeting, I set up the Gofundme campaign. I wanted to do something to help and the campaign unlocked the same feelings in the community.”

How do the employees feel about all of this? An employee told us. “It’s not about the money really, though of course the money is very helpful. It is about that wonderful feeling that you get when people in your community recognize you. It’s about that feeling of being part of something. Like family even.”