Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kitimat examines its options after Eurocan

“This is such a big blow to our economy,” -- NDP MP Nathan Cullen, expressing the frustration of Kitimat residents as January's Eurocan closure looms

While hopeful that something will come of Forest Minister Pat Bell's recent ruminations about potential Chinese investment into the Eurocan mill, the city itself is working to formulate a plan of action for after the closure of the Eurocan pulp mill in January.

A recent round table session in Kitimat, organized by NDP MP Nathan Cullen, discussed where they can go from here in the way of West Fraser's pre Christmas surprise of last month. The November 7th meeting brought together a number of local residents and officials to examine the challenges ahead and work out their strategy to move forward from that point.

It's a place where Prince Rupert has been for a number of years now, still feeling the after affects of the closure of the Watson Island pulp mill. With that example just two hours down the highway, Kitimat will no doubt be quite aware of how large an impact on their economy Eurocan's closure will have.

One thing most likely seems certain, Kitimat and to a degree Terrace may see a decline in population with the closure of the mill. With employment prospects set to change in 2010, a number of soon to be Eurocan workers are examining their options as a variety of forest companies prepare to poach some of Kitimat's population base on closure day.

The loss of the mill and a good number of it's tax paying work force will provide for a challenging situation for the District of Kitimat, to that end, the Mayor and her council are planning on applying for funding, examining their finances and finding ways to alleviate what will be a stressful situation for their community.

The Northern Sentinel provides some background into those discussions of earlier this month and where it may take the community towards in the future.

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