REPORTING · 22nd December 2010
Mary Muphy stepped up to speak at the City Council Meeting on December 20th to give an update on the Eurocan Viability Study. It has been more then a year since Eurocan announced their closure. She said she also wished to reflect.
“The Viability Group developed a new model for a smaller pulp and paper operation production on one machine thus reducing the overhead, reducing the environmental concerns and creating a profitable business,” said Murphy.
She explained Sack Craft was a highly sought after product with a high demand. The model would be a win/win situation for Kitimat, the region and the forest industry. The model was presented to investors as there were only two sack craft producers in Canada.
“The viability group’s goal was to make Eurocan a viable operation. West Fraser’s Goal was to permanently close that Mill,” said Murphy.
She said they brought on Poyry and formed a Co-op group. They tried to obtain government support to overcome the roadblocks including financial support. They received overwhelming support from investors from Canada and New York City. They presented the plan to Kitimat and economic development groups and West Fraser.
“West Frasier continually informed us that they were moving forward in an effort to realize value for the site in order to mitigate the significant costs incurred in trying to shut down the mill. West Fraser has a never-ending target and I believe there are good opportunities to sell sack craft,” said Murphy.
She said both machines one and two have been sold; #1 to Indonesia and #2 to a German Company, the latter who Murphy accused of purchasing the machine to take it out of service and eliminate competition. A maintenance company is going through the mill taking out the assets which are needed for the viability to work.
She said their goal is to push to restore the industry and deliver the message about appurtenancy laws, which, since having been removed, have destroyed small communities.
“Direct intervention of the Provincial Government would keep the success of this venture. In my opinion, we have a Provincial Government who cannot come to odds with the forest industry situation and cannot react in a way to save jobs,” said Murphy.
While explaining Poyry to Council, Murphy said the company was able to get into the mill but there was a roadblock there and government support could have helped break the roadblock.
Councillor Bob Corless asked about the wharf. Murphy explained their plan included the terminal. However, Poyry suggested removing the wharf from the plans and lease it to ship sack craft. Murphy said the wharf and the sawmill are up for sale, West Fraser is logging behind Mount Elizabeth but she did not know where the logs were going.
Councillor Corinne Scott asked Murphy what action she wanted the District to take. Murphy said the District of Kitimat had been a supporter of the project and brought the message to the government and the community.
“I don’t see that there is anything else we could do because we don’t own that asset. Really we don’t own that asset. What the District can do now and the community can do is not sit on that land. Force people to clean up their messes. If they’re going to close it down, then clean it up so we can move on from that,” said Murphy. “I can’t see why the government wouldn’t be interested in using our resources to create jobs in our area.”
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 22nd December 2010
You would think that our Mayor would have grabbed Mary by the hand flown to Victoria and sat on Campbell's friggin lap till he did something about Eurocan. West Fraser has 32 million of our tax dollars, he is accessible isn't he? How they let this asset slip away from the town is dumbfounding, well at least we have the Eurocan dock left. School closures, shifting all our medical procedures to the virus infested Terrace hospital, what the hell is going on here! Thank God for the 5 billion Rio Tinto modernization, I mean 500 million Rio Tinto Modernization, I mean 300 million modernization.....well at least they're helping out at the soup kitchen.... oh yeah we don't have a soup kitchen!