The owners of an abandoned mill site in Bathurst failed for a fourth time to show up in provincial court Monday to enter a plea on a charge of failing to clean up a mill site the company bought in 2010.

Judge Camille Dumas then granted a Crown request to proceed with an ex parte trial, which is a trial without requiring the defendant to be present.

The trial is scheduled for May 13.

Bathurst Redevelopment Inc. is a Canadian subsidiary of Illinois-based Green Investment Group. It bought the former Smurfit-Stone mill property in 2010.

The mill closed suddenly in 2005, putting 270 people out of work.

Brian Kenny

Bathurst Liberal MLA Brian Kenny has said he and other area politicians want to put pressure on Green Investment Group to fix up the old Smurfit-Stone paper mill site. (CBC)

The Green Investment Group promised a "green cleanup" when it bought the property through its Canadian subsidiary in 2010. However, the site was only stripped of valuable metals and equipment.

Officials have described the mill site, which is about one kilometre from the heart of Bathurst, as an eyesore.

Close to $1 million is owed in back taxes on the property, preventing prospective buyers and developers from making any progress on redeveloping the mill site.