BROOKLYN, N.S. — Resolute Forest Products says a struggling paper mill on Nova Scotia’s south shore will be closed indefinitely.The company announced Friday that the Bowater Mersey facility in Brooklyn will be idled starting on Sunday because it is unable to compete as prices decline in export markets.About 320 workers at the mill and associated woodlands will be affected by the indefinite shut downIn December, Premier Darrell Dexter announced a $25-million forgivable loan to the firm in $5-million yearly portions. On Thursday, he said that money to the to keep the mill’s two paper machines operating and to help the company make efficiency improvements and upgrade a power plant hasn’t been spent yet.The company says about 320 workers at the mill and associated woodlands will be affected by the indefinite shut down.A sawmill owned by the company at nearby Oakill and the Brooklyn Power Corp. are also affected by the shut down.The company said it is looking at the feasibility of selling all of its assets in Nova Scotia, including the paper mill, sawmill and Brooklyn Power.[np-related]Company spokesman Seth Kursman acknowledged that workers made sacrifices to try and save the mill as they agreed to wage concessions as the province offered financial assistance.“Everything that was really in the direct control of the people here, of government, of stakeholders across the board, people did, they stepped up and it makes the situation that much more frustrating,” he said in an interview.The plant was initially scheduled to shut down Sunday for about two weeks. It was also idled last month, the latest in a series of scheduled down times for the mill since December.Late last year, unionized workers at the mill voted to cut 110 jobs in an effort to reduce labour costs and help save the operation.Dexter said a continued erosion of the pulp and paper market is not helping the forestry sector, which is being flooded by cheaper products from European mills.Don MacKenzie of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada said the indefinite closure is a blow to the area, which has relied heavily on jobs at the mill during its more than 70 years of operation.“It’s just got to be devastating to the members I represent, to the community,” he said. “It’s a sad day for the people of Liverpool and it will obviously have an impact to many spin-off jobs in the province, and it’s simply another reflection of the turbulent times in the pulp and paper industry.”The lifeline thrown to the company in December by the province was valued at a total of $50-million. In addition to the $25-million forgivable loan, the province also spent $23.75-million to buy about 10,120 hectares of woodland from the company.Another $1.5-million was offered over three years to train workers. So far, $605,000 has been spent on training to improve safety, efficiency and production, said a spokeswoman with the Department of Economic Development.Dexter defended the deal on Thursday, saying he wasn’t prepared to give up on the plant.“What would you do? You’re going to walk away from the jobs of thousands of people? I think that would just be wrong,” he said.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCDC opens oil spill planning and readiness assessment workshopMay 8, 2019In “Business”Stakeholders receiving training for possible oil spillsApril 24, 2018In “Business”Local fishermen to get oil spill response training – ExxonMobilJuly 17, 2018In “Business” Guyana’s National Oil Spill Response Contingency Plan which is ninety percent complete is being drafted by local experts in key sectors.In an exclusive interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig explained that the planning, drafting of the plan was done by local agencies with some technical advice from international bodies.“We decided to use our in-house experts within the country because these persons understand their roles and responsibilities better than those (international) experts when it comes to developing a plan that is tailored to Guyana and is specific to our environment,” he said.Consultation development of the oil spill response plan commenced in 2017 with technical support from the United States Coast Guard. In February of this year, more emphasis was placed on the development of the plan and a National Oil Spill Planning Committee. The committee comprised representatives from the CDC, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Guyana Energy Agency, Maritime Administration. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency.Since the establishment, the team has met regularly on Tuesdays to identify key roles, responsibilities and to craft the plan.“We are about 90 percent complete and we are now making final edits and developing some of the annexes.”Craig explained that the annexes in the plan will be used for guidance on the types of resources, contact information and call-out procedures. The DG emphasised that the most critical aspect in the development of the strategy was the planning process.“Going through the planning process with key stakeholder would ensure that people know what their roles are,” he stressed.The CDC has already begun procuring oil spill response equipment. According to Lt. Col. Craig, there approximately four containers containing millions of dollars’ worth of response equipped stored at the commission’s warehouse in Timehri, East Bank Demerara.“We are now working with the main agencies to identify some of the key resources and where they will be deployed because once something happens, you want to have almost immediate response and having the resources deployed and having persons trained in the use of these resources is very essential in responding, containing and minimising the impact of an oil spill,” he explained.Craig also related that as part of the plan, volunteers are being trained and equipped to respond in the unlikely event of an oil spill on or offshore.It was noted that operators in Guyana’s basin are also required to have an oil spill plan which must be approved by the CDC. In the event of a spill offshore, each operator is responsible for responding and managing that spill.The Government of Guyana and its agencies are required to ensure that there is an enabling environment for effective response in place. Lt Col. Craig explained mechanisms would have to be in place to expedite procedures such as customs and immigration in the event international assistance is required to manage an oil spill.Before the end of October, the CDC will host a broader stakeholder engagement.