Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eurocan announcement brings 390 million dollars in lost values on Kitimat homes

Since the announcement of West Fraser Timber's plans to close it's Eurocan pulp operations in Kitimat, the value of housing in that community has taken a steep drop. With the anticipated drop in value of homes there to be around 25 to 30 percent or 390 million dollars in declining value.

That was one of the impacts outlined to Prince George radio station CFIS FM on Monday, as Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan updated radio host Ben Meisner on what was happening in the community since that October announcement that shook the town.

Monaghan provided some background for Meisner on how the Eurocan announcement could see a decline of 25 per cent of Kitimat's population as the 535 direct jobs provided by Eurocan disappear in the new year. Already, forest companies from other parts of British Columbia and Canada have been in contact with a number of soon to be ex-Eurocan employees looking to match requirements with skills.

With a potential exodus of such a large trained workforce, Kitimat is following two tracks to try to weather the latest crisis to the community, one is the union led initiative to try and purchase the mill assets and keep the mill in operation in the community.

The prospect of outside investment was outlined earlier in November, and while Chinese investors had been in the community to kick some tires, nothing seems to have developed thus far from those initial inquiries.

With the clock ticking on the shutdown date of January 31, Monaghan is eager to show that the city council is working hard to find alternatives in the community, which may involve better use of bio mass and green fuel technologies.

Kitimat is also exploring ways to reinvent the community, perhaps turning Kitimat into a retirement destination, using its current recreation and health assets as a draw for those looking for affordable accommodations and lifestyle opportunities.

Opinion 250-- Mayor Of Kitimat Says Lots Happening

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