COMMENTARY · 5th January 2010
I received a phone call at 1:00 pm letting me know that something was going on. The news release came and was posted on the Kitimat Daily Website by 2:00 pm. By midnight, a month's worth of traffic had visited our site. This is one form of news release we hope never to see again.
It goes without saying, the number 2 selection for our top 5 countdown of events in Kitimat in 2009 is Eurocan announcing their potential closure in 2010. It is number 2 for several reasons. First off, Eurocan has not shut down yet. That has been announced for the end of the month.
Second, there is a group of people working hard to keep the plant operational. We at the Kitimat Daily have been told that this group gave up a majority of their Christmas Holidays to try and save the mill.
We now have less than four hours to midnight and what can we say that has not already been said? Not a lot.
The first signs of a shut down came in the announcement from West Fraser that their $300,000 tax increase was too much for the mill to bear and that they were taking the District of Kitimat to court. Denis Clare was present at the City Council Meeting a few nights earlier to speak to Council out of the public eye or “In Camera.”
Council did request to meet with West Fraser Representatives at one of their public meetings but were turned down. Mayor Monaghan had extended the invitation prior to that meeting. She explained that she had been told that they would only meet In Camera and Council obliged.
The Forest Industry is in a Crisis. The Black Liquor Subsidy has done some damage, as has exports of raw logs to foreign countries. The loss of appurtenance has encouraged this; so has Forest Minister Pat Bell, who left for China on a business trip and was pleased to announce that he was selling off more of BC’s logs.
We at the Kitimat Daily will not refer to Eurocan’s closure as anything more than an announcement until all avenues of hope have been exhausted. To the people working to save the mill, we say: “Keep up the good work” and “Thank you.”