Nova Scotia

Mayor will not support Pacific West tax cut

Port Hawkesbury's mayor, who is spearheading the effort to save the town's idled paper mill, says he can't support a Vancouver company's request to cancel a municipal tax agreement that provides millions of dollars a year to Richmond County.

Port Hawkesbury mayor says, 'enough is enough'

Port Hawkesbury Mayor Billy Joe MacLean says, 'enough is enough' and he will not support a proposed tax cut for Pacific West. (CBC)

Port Hawkesbury's mayor, who is spearheading the effort to save the town's idled paper mill, says he can't support a Vancouver company's request to cancel a municipal tax agreement that provides millions of dollars a year to Richmond County.

Pacific West Commercial Corp., the company working to buy the former NewPage mill, wants the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to cancel the mill's tax agreement with the county.  

If the agreement was cancelled, the mill would save an additional $2 million per year, more than 20 per cent of Richmond County's annual budget.  

Victor David, deputy warden of Richmond County, says he can't comment directly on the case but that a loss of $2 million would be a blow to the community.  

"It would mean that a lot of programs that we are offering now would suffer," said David.  

"It would mean that a lot of the volunteer organizations that have been helped by the money that some of the councillors have -— as far as activity funds and infrastructure funding, would not be there any more for these groups. It would have an adverse effect and hopefully it won't be lost."

Port Hawkesbury Mayor Billy Joe MacLean said Pacific West has been given everything it has asked for, including union concessions that will see a reduced workforce with no pay increases over 10 years and reduced electrical rates.

"I know company officials will be disappointed in my position, but on this occasion, I feel enough is enough," said MacLean.

With files from the Canadian Press

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