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GOVRC Compass MineralsSafety is paramount to clients and staff at Springhill’s GOVRC. And now a Cumberland County company has stepped forward with the donation of personal protective equipment in support of the organization that provides life and vocational skills to 22 men and women.

Representatives of Compass Minerals visited the Springhill operation on Thursday, Jan. 19, to drop off an assortment of protective equipment including helmets, safety glasses, work gloves, traffic vests, ear plugs and other items.

“For us safety is essential and it’s a big part of our business,” Amherst evaporator plant manager Wayne McConnell said. “We’re producing minerals that go out in the community to help the safety of the community through de-icing, water conditioning and water softening.

“It’s important for us as an organization and as a plant to look after our employees and as I’ve said before we consider GOVRC part of our employees. I’d feel bad if anyone got hurt and we could’ve assisted in any way.”

GOVRC, or the Golden Opportunity Vocational Rehabilitation Centre, has been operating in Springhill since opening as an activity centre in 1971. From recreational programs, GOVRC grew to teach vocational skills that produce quality-controlled products sold to raise money and provide life skills programs.

A workshop opened in Springhill’s industrial park in 1980 and in 1988 an expansion saw the creation of a greenhouse. Governed by a community-based board of directors, GOVRC has a manager, two full-time and one part-time staff member and 22 clients from across Cumberland County.

Products include wooden pallets, survey stakes, kindling, packaging, stripping wires baked dog biscuits, bedding plants, an online auction and laundry services.

Compass Minerals is one of GOVRC’s biggest customers, purchasing a lot of wooden pallets every year from the organization. The Amherst evaporator plant produces and packages a variety of salt products. Almost half the salt manufactured at the Nappan facility is food-grade salt distributed for use in commercial food production and for table salt used in homes across Canada. In addition, the plant produces and packages salt for water conditioning, agriculture, fishery, de-icing and even pool salt. Workshop supervisor Rob Usher said the clients appreciate the support from Compass Minerals.

“This donation is important to us because it helps us keep moving,” Usher said. “Safety is very important to us and it’s important to have the proper safety gear. It’s so encouraging to get this type of support from companies like Compass Minerals because we need this stuff and the guys appreciate it. We couldn’t do it without their support.”

Usher said GOVRC gets tremendous support from the community and companies like Compass Minerals.

“GOVRC is an important part of our business,” McConnell said. “Everything we ship out goes on pallets and they’re made by the people here at GOVRC.”

Cumberland County Mayor Murray Scott applauded the company for its support of the program.

“GOVRC has been part of our community in Cumberland County for many years and the community depends on it,” Scott said. “Customers and supporters like Compass Minerals mean so much to an organization like GOVRC.”

Scott said it’s incredible how Compass Minerals view GOVRC clients as part of their team. It’s something he recognized the first time he met McConnell and introduced him to the centre’s manager, Paul Williams, and the clients.

“This donation is confirmation of the excellent relationship we’ve built over the years with Compass Minerals,” Williams said. “Compass Minerals has been a customer of ours for more than 20 years and this donation strengthens that relationship,” Williams said protective equipment is very expensive and while the organization budgets for it, it can still be challenging to ensure every client has the right safety equipment for ding the job safely.

“We can use that equipment every day to stay safe,” Williams said.