Bowater mill owners confirm temporary shutdowns
Bowater Mersey Mill has shutdown twice already this year
The owner of the Bowater Mersey Paper Company Ltd. mill in Brooklyn confirmed there will be two temporarily shutdowns in the next few months.
"Due to challenging market conditions, the paper production at the Mersey mill ... will be temporarily down from May 6 until May 21 and down again from June 17 until July 2," said Pierre Choquette, spokesman for Resolute Forest Products which owns the mill. "This temporary downtime impacts approximately 18,700 metric tons of paper production."
The mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality said the news is a blow to the community, but it isn't a shock.
"It has become a fact of life with us," said Mayor John Leefe.
Leefe has heard the rumblings for weeks, but Wednesday the mill owners made it official.
"It's all related to market conditions, I think we simply just have to accept that as the rationale, of course [it's] very disappointing," Leefe said.
Late last year, unionized workers at the mill voted to cut 110 jobs in an effort to reduce labour costs and help save the operation, which used to employ about 300 people.
Premier defends $50M investment
The mill has shutdown twice in the past few months — that's after the province invested $50 million in the business.
But Premier Darrell Dexter defends the investment.
The company needs time to use that money to upgrade the facility and install energy-efficient machinery, Dexter said.
"The further we get down the road, then they will become a much more cost-efficient mill, and that will affect their ability to withstand those kinds of pressures," Dexter said Wednesday.
In the meantime, Leefe said the workers at the mill will do their best to make it through the next shutdowns, with hopes that these breaks are the last.