Catalyst gets additional tax break in Port Alberni
February 4, 2008 By Pulp & Paper Canada
Port Alberni, BC – At Port Alberni city council’s Jan. 28 meeting, CEP union presidents and a senior Catalyst Paper…
Port Alberni, BC – At Port Alberni city council’s Jan. 28 meeting, CEP union presidents and a senior Catalyst Paper mill representative discussed a deal they hope will secure the immediate future of the mill. Westcoaster.ca reported that Ron Buchhorn, senior VP for Catalyst Paper said the company has agreed to an $11 million commitment that will include a CTMP (chemi-thermal mechanical pulp) expansion, re-start of the silenced PM4 and a new retirement package that will eventually result in recalls for 200 younger workers. Union presidents also spoke of the challenges facing the industry and the rising cost of doing business. Pete Reyburn (CEP 592 president) said the unions went out on a limb for the local membership and their community in orchestrating the deal.
Buchhorn was at the council meeting to ask for an additional tax reduction of $125,000 per year, over and above the $300,000 annual reduction previously agreed to by the city. And on Wednesday evening, after the council heard a report recommending compliance from the citys economic development manager Pat Deakin, they voted in agreement with his request, reports Karen Boden of Westcoaster.ca. Industrial property taxes will be reduced by the extra $125,000 per year for five years, giving a total of $2.125 million tax relief over five years.
City councillors didnt all readily agree, with some abstaining from the vote and others asking for guarantees. But many councillors felt it was imperative to approve the reduction. Councillor Patterson called it a show of good faith saying, “Lets face it, these unions have given up an awful lot more than anybody ever thought they would do.”
The paper mill once employed 1,500 people and was the lifeblood of the community, but now employs just 200 senior workers. Catalysts tax contribution, at $5.7 million, makes up 80% of the industrial property taxes paid to Port Alberni.
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