UPDATED: Mill to be demolished

Andrea Gunn
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MHA says funds for remediation in today’s budget

File photo

The former Abitibi Bowater mill in Grand Falls-Windsor will be demolished.

Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans MHA Susan Sullivan confirmed that information for the Advertiser on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the delivery of the provincial budget for 2014/15.

The news comes almost five years to the day of the mill’s shut down.

 “At this point we’re anticipating that the tender will be released fairly soon, and we have already been working with several companies,” Sullivan said.

“We’ve been five years now, and we’ve seen no use for the mill whatsoever, we’ve had a number of people tour, take a look at it, and invariably they’ve come away and not shown any interest in the mill infrastructure at all.”

Sullivan didn’t provide any details on how much the demolition would cost or when it would be completed.

In late 2012 the mill property made national news when the Supreme Court of Canada, going against the so-called “polluter pays” principle, sided with Abitibi Bowater when it ruled the province was responsible for the multimillion dollar remediation of the facility.

Just last month, Grand Falls-Windsor mayor Al Hawkins told the Advertiser it was time to get rid of the dilapidated property. He called it an eyesore.

Deputy Mayor Barry Manuel offered his reaction to the news, and said the town is pleased to hear that the government is finally taking the first steps to remediate the mill property.

“We’re very happy this is going to happen, there’s no practical uses left for the mill, that’s been determined, so take it down. Let’s close this chapter and try to move on,” he said.

Manuel said while the town is unable to offer any predictions on what the property will be used for as it is currently under the ownership of the provincial government, he said he hopes to see it utilized in a way that will benefit Grand Fall-Windsor.

“It’s right on the river down there, it’s prime property and there’s definitely benefit that can come from that that we can use in the future.”

While people in Grand Falls-Windsor have anticipated news of the mill’s demolition for the past number of years, the big question on the minds of residents is what will become of the unused fibre resources in region.

Sullivan said, however, the news is unrelated to the expressions of interest for fibre the province has been examining for the past few months.

“The expressions of interest are narrowed down and we’re looking at one particular group now, and as I understand it, we’re still waiting for them to provide us with some information,” she said. “When they get their final proposal in, then we’ll get to analyze it in full detail and make a decision. For us, it’s about sustainability and it’s about being able to provide optimal employment for the region.”

In an email statement Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Works told The Advertiser engineering consultants looked at the mill last summer and found no risk of collapse. The consultants, who work for engineering firm EXP, will provide formal recommendations on how the province should proceed with demolition of the former Abitibi mill.

“It is likely that some, if not all, of the structure on the property will be demolished if no further purposes are found,” the email states. “How exactly that will occur and what materials can be salvaged is part of the ongoing work.”

 

Previous story:

The former Abitibi Bowater mill in Grand Falls-Windsor will be demolished.

Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans MHA Susan Sullivan confirmed that information for the Advertiser on Thursday, shortly after the delivery of the 2014 budget.

The news comes almost five years to the day of the mill’s shut down.

 “At this point we’re anticipating that the tender will be released fairly soon, and we have already been working with several companies,” Sullivan said. “Based on that information and some ideas we’ve heard from those companies, we’re in the process of getting the tender ready.”

In late 2012 the mill property made national news when the Supreme Court of Canada, going against the so-called polluter pays principle, sided with Abitibi Bowater decision when it ruled the province was responsible for the multimillion dollar environmental remediation of the facility.

Just last month, Grand Falls-Windsor mayor Al Hawkins told the Advertiser it was time to get rid of the dilapidated property. He called it an eyesore.

“We've been looking at opportunities for the last five years and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of appetite out there for anyone coming in and utilizing any of the existing buildings. So if the buildings are not going to be utilized, then the time has come to look at taking them down," Hawkins said at the time.

Sullivan didn't provide any details on how much the demolition would cost or when it would be completed.

The Advertiser will continue to follow this story.

Organizations: Abitibi Bowater, Supreme Court of Canada

Geographic location: Grand Falls-Windsor

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Recent comments

  • Pat
    March 28, 2014 - 11:04

    Well our MHA's will finally not have to be reminded about thier part in the loss of Central's vibrant TRUE economy now that the mill is going to be put to rest. Next step is the GrandFalls House. Out of site and out of mind , let's hope the next election brings the same fate to these quiet politicians.

  • Paul Rose
    March 28, 2014 - 06:55

    Long.overdue. But at least now it will be removed. Its important that the land is reclaimed with due consideration. NO HOUSES....doubtful that would happen anyway. The RV park and boat launch are is a perfect example of what needs to.continue. extend the trail up to the falls with a suspended bridge to interpretation center. A water park similar to splash and put, only better. So much potentail!

  • Francis Thorneu
    March 28, 2014 - 01:25

    Is this really a supprise? 5 years of delays in giving news of a use for the mill and fiber. All along this was never an issue because it was never meant to be. The fiber was already given away and the mills faith was in the books to be removed and the delays is proof of this. Money is being made from the sales of the fiber and power so there was nothing in the books for the mill. The unions of the mill wanted to take over the mill after the government removed ownership from Abitibi but wouldn't allow it. They said the government was not in the paper making business. Was this because they wanted their cake and eat it too? Here it is 5 years after the closure of the mill and money is still flowing in to the governments purse and the destruction of the future is at hand.

  • Francis Thorneu
    March 28, 2014 - 01:21

    Is this really a supprise? 5 years of delays in giving news of a use for the mill and fiber. All along this was never an issue because it was never meant to be. The fiber was already given away and the mills faith was in the books to be removed and the delays is proof of this. Money is being made from the sales of the fiber and power so there was nothing in the books for the mill. The unions of the mill wanted to take over the mill after the government removed ownership from Abitibi but wouldn't allow it. They said the government was not in the paper making business. Was this because they wanted their cake and eat it too? Here it is 5 years after the closure of the mill and money is still flowing in to the governments purse and the destruction of the future is at hand.