Dalhousie mill closure: Province, town, and AbitibiBowater to work co-operatively
By Pulp & Paper Canada
By Pulp & Paper Canada
FREDERICTON, NB — Premier Shawn Graham, Natural Resources Minister Donald Arseneault and Dalhousie Mayor Clem Trem…
FREDERICTON, NB — Premier Shawn Graham, Natural Resources Minister Donald Arseneault and Dalhousie Mayor Clem Tremblay met today with AbitibiBowater executive chairman John W. Weaver and president and CEO David J. Paterson to discuss the next steps related to the recent announcement of the permanent closure of the Dalhousie mill.
The parties have agreed on a number of key points to help ensure the viability of the Town of Dalhousie and to help secure future employment prospects for mill workers.
“I am very pleased that Mr. Weaver and Mr. Paterson agreed to meet with us and that we were able to find common ground in a number of areas,” Graham said. “In New Brunswick, we are all too familiar with the challenges in the forestry sector. Mill closures are having a devastating impact on many communities, especially in the northern areas of the province. We will continue to work very hard to diversify the economy in the region, and I am encouraged that AbitibiBowater will work co-operatively with us.”
The Province and the company have agreed to work together to achieve a long-term arrangement for the continued supply of water to the Town of Dalhousie. The town’s water supply is provided through a distribution system operated by the company.
AbitibiBowater has also agreed to continue to heat the mill through the winter months and to not start the dismantling process of the facility before Sept. 2008, with the exception of the paper-making equipment. The Province and the company will work together to look for a suitable buyer for the industrial mill, recognizing that the production of paper is no longer an option. As part of its efforts to facilitate the sale of the property, the company will register for an Environmental Impact Assessment with the Department of Environment.
AbitibiBowater has also reiterated its intention to fully respect current employee collective agreements and applicable legislation during the winding down of the Dalhousie operation.
The Department of Natural Resources will work with the company to find ways to maintain the ongoing management of AbitibiBowater’s Crown land licence while the site is marketed. This could include assistance from the Province during a potential transition period should a sale occur.
A working group of representatives from all parties will be established in the coming days, and is expected to collaborate on a regular basis.
“As mayor of Dalhousie, I too am encouraged by the co-operation between AbitibiBowater, the Province and our community,” Tremblay said. “There is no doubt that news of the closure has hit us hard, but we are very resilient and I know we can overcome these challenges. Our future depends on it.”
AbitibiBowater announced the permanent closure of the mill Nov. 29, 2007.