Monday, May 7, 2012

Another Planned Bowater Shutdown Underway

Bowater Mersey is planning another shutdown beginning in mid-March. (BEVERLEY WARE / South Shore Bureau / File)
Another shutdown of operations is underway at Bowater Mersey.  It began yesterday as the paper machines were shut down and most workers stayed home. This is the third such closure of the Brooklyn mill since December when the province and local governments antied up 50-million dollars to keep the mill from closing.

Premier Darrell Dexter stands behind the decision to provide Bowater with the financial life-line.  He says too many people and businesses are at stake.  He says:  "The forresters, the harvesters, the silvaculture people, the suppliers they interact with, the sawmills. So, in the case of Bowater, we're talking about literally thousands of jobs on the South Shore that extend from Lunenburg County right to Yarmouth."

Meanwhile, Liberal leader Stephen McNeil says he can't help but be nervous about taxpayer money being pumped into Bowater with markets being so volatile over the past couple of years.  McNeil says: "With the latest shutdowns, we're now looking at eleven of a possible thirty weeks that the mill will be closed. Obviously, we're concerned for those workers who are left there. What does this mean for the future of the mill and what assurances has the premier received from Resolute that there is a future for that mill?"

PC leader Jamie Baillie tells us he still supports the need for the infusion of money into Bowater last year to save the mill.  Baillie says: "Given the importance of the forest industry on the South Shore, I think the right thing to do now is to remain calm and make sure all parties are working together to find that long term viable future for the mill. At the same time, look for ways to create a forestry industry that is independent of the mill."

Officials at Bowater's parent company, Resolute Forest Products, say this shutdown will end May 21st. There will be another one though from June 17th to July 2nd.  Resolute says both closures, like the others, are a result of poor paper market conditions.