B.C.'s Howe Sound mill to close paper operations
Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Corporation blames declining newsprint demand and drought
The Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Corporation on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast will close part of its operations effective immediately, affecting up to 180 workers.
The mill's owners, Paper Excellence, blamed the extreme drought, noting that water from a nearby lake that feeds the mill's operations is dwindling. It also said declining prices and a shrinking newsprint market have been bad for business.
The mill has operated in Port Mellon for more than 100 years.
"The announcement was a shock to us all," said Unifor Local 1119 President Don Rheaume in a statement. The closing will affect about one-third of the mill's 580 workers. People receiving layoff notices will get 60 more days on the job, according to the union.
"We're very disappointed and will work hard to help our members who are displaced by the closure," Rheaume's statement said.
The company also operates mills in Mackenzie and Chetwynd in northern B.C.
The company said that retooling the newsprint operation was not economically viable. While its paper operations are shuttering, the company's pulp business will continue to operate.