Province Invests in Jobs, Training and Renewing the Forestry Sector

Premier's Office

August 20, 2012 10:44 AM

The province is fighting for workers, families and communities in the Strait area with a financial commitment to support the sale of the former NewPage mill to Pacific West, which will bring more than 1,400 jobs and more than $11 million in annual revenue to the province.

"Today's investment further demonstrates my commitment to the workers, families and businesses in the Strait area and protects good jobs," said Premier Darrell Dexter. "These are smart, strategic investments that will help Nova Scotia families."

The province, through its Jobs Fund, is providing a financial package that includes:
-- a $24-million loan to support improved productivity and efficiency to make this the most efficient paper producer in the world
-- a $40-million repayable loan for working capital to help the mill become the lowest cost and most competitive producer of super calendar paper
-- $1.5 million to train workers to operate the most efficient paper producing machine in the industry
-- $1 million to implement a marketing plan to sell the Nova Scotia forestry sector to the world and create customer opportunities

The province, through the Department of Natural Resources, has also agreed to invest:
-- $20 million to buy 51,500 acres of land to help meet the province's commitment to increase Crown land share and ensure the resource is protected for future generations
-- $3.8 million annually, for 10 years, from the forestry restructuring fund to support sustainable harvesting, forest land management, and fund programs that will allow more woodlot owners and pulpwood suppliers to become more active in the management of their woodlands
-- funding for the development of a Mi'kmaq Forestry Strategy and a Mi'kmaq Forestry Co-ordinator

"These investments will support the most modern paper machine in the industry and the development of a new and innovative forestry sector that will give future generations the opportunity to live, work and raise a family in Nova Scotia," said Premier Dexter.

Restarting the mill will bring 330 people back to work, protect 600 indirect jobs in the woodlands, sawmills, and power generation industries, and provide 500 more jobs for local communities.

"We applaud the province's strategic investment in the mill and the forestry sector overall," said Billy Joe MacLean, Mayor of the Town of Port Hawkesbury. "People in our communities are excited about seeing the mill operating again soon. This mill has been a major contributor to our economy for half a century, and that should continue for another 50 years."

"What this government has done is nothing short of remarkable. I hope the people of this province realize that. Forestry is one of the largest employers in Nova Scotia, and one of the biggest contributors to the provincial economy," said Bill Stewart Director of Woodlands and Strategic Initiative for NewPage Port Hawkesbury.

The provincial assistance is contingent upon Pacific West purchasing the mill. Pacific West is waiting for a ruling on application from the Canada Revenue Agency. Pacific West has said if the application is rejected, it will not purchase and re-start the mill.

"Protecting these jobs significantly blunts the damage a closure would cause and keeps talented Nova Scotians working and contributing to their province," said Premier Dexter. "With these commitments, the province is doing everything reasonable to support the re-start of the mill and we stand by the people of the Strait area as we await the CRA decision that will ultimately determine the future of the mill."


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Premier Darrell Dexter announced today (August 20th) the

province's commitment to support the sale of the NewPage paper

mill to Pacific West which will bring 14-hundred jobs to the

Strait region and more than 11 million dollars in annual revenue

to the economy.

     The investments will support worker training, improvements

to make the mill the lowest-cost, most-efficient operation in

North America and help revitalize the forestry sector to take

advantage of today's market.

     Premier Dexter says the investments are about supporting the

development of a new and innovative forestry sector that will

give future generations the opportunity to live, work and raise a

family in Nova Scotia.

     The provincial assistance is contingent on Pacific West

purchasing the mill. Pacific West is waiting for a ruling on

an application from the Canada Revenue Agency.

     Premier Dexter says the province is doing everything

reasonable to support the re-start of the mill and the province

is waiting on the ruling of the CRA.

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Media Contact: Jennifer Stewart
              Premier's Office
              902-424-0007
              Cell: 902-497-7198
              E-mail: stewarjl@gov.ns.ca