Nova Scotia

NewPage won't accept wood after Sunday

NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd. mill told its suppliers Friday that it will not take any more wood after Sunday.

One forestry company laid off some of its workers Friday

The NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd. mill told its suppliers Friday that it will not take any more wood after Sunday.

Company officials met with about 50 suppliers at the mill Friday morning.

"The newest thing for us this morning was that they would be stopping producing wood on the Crown land today, that our Crown operations would cease cutting," said Shawn Scott, general manager of Scott and Stewart Forestry Consultants in Antigonish.

His company employs up to 150 people in peak times. About 70 per cent of his business comes from NewPage. Scott and Stewart supplies most of the mill's seedlings for silviculture work.

Scott said he didn't know what to expect going into Friday's meeting, but he had to make hard decisions coming out of it.

"We've got to control our costs, so we have to lay people off. Assuming that NewPage is going to be shut down for a little while anyway, we're going to have to look for some other revenue-generating ideas."

Scott speculates stockpiled wood will last until the shutdown of the newsprint machine on Sept. 10 and the glossy paper machine on Sept. 16.

Another contractor said the tone of the meeting was not optimistic — with more questions than answers.

NewPage insisted Friday the shut down is not a ploy to get lower power rates.

Premier Darrell Dexter said earlier this week that the province is considering a new marketing campaign for NewPage to attract customers.

Scott said that program would help companies like his.

His company is also looking for new markets.