Prince Rupert claims pulp mill for non-payment of taxes
October 6, 2009 By Pulp & Paper Canada
The City of Prince Rupert in British Columbia is the new owner of a pulp mill on Watson Island and the majorit…
The City of Prince Rupert in British Columbia is the new owner of a pulp mill on Watson Island and the majority of land on the island after Sun Wave Forest Products failed to pay the more than $6.4 million owed in back taxes by the tax sale deadline, according to a report on Northernview.com on Sept. 29.
The pulp mill was most recently operated by Skeena Cellulose, but had been shut down by the time is was sold to Sun Wave in 2006.
“For the first time in 12 or 13 years we are in charge of our destiny with that property. Whether that is the sale of the property or leasing the property has to be determined by council,” said acting mayor Kathy Bedard.
“The ultimate [result] would be an operating mill, but I think the community gave up on that some time ago.”
According to the report on northernview.com, Sun Wave purchased the pulp mill on June 15, 2006, and was offered relief from property taxes and the taxes owed to the city provided the mill was operational by the end of 2007. However, the mill was never restarted and taxes never paid, leaving a total tax bill of $6.4 million owed to the City of Prince Rupert.
A story in the Vancouver Sun on Sept. 21 said the mill is in a state of poor repair. John Helin, Chief Counsellor with the Lax Kw’alaams band that considers Watson Island its territory, said the site “has been essentially abandoned with many of the old pulp mill buildings either flooded, overgrown with vegetation or infested with various kinds of wildlife.”
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