Saskatchewan

10 years later: Prince Albert Pulp Mill closure still felt by region

It was 10 years ago this month when Weyerhaeuser closed the Prince Albert Pulp Mill.

Prince Albert mayor says nearly 2,000 jobs were lost as a result of the pulp mill closing

The pulp and paper facility in Prince Albert was once the city's largest private employer. (SRC/CBC)

It's an anniversary not too many people in Prince Albert, Sask., are celebrating.

Ten years ago this month Weyerhaeuser closed the Prince Albert Pulp Mill and the move resulted in 700 people losing their jobs.

But Greg Dionne, the mayor of Prince Albert, said the impact was startling for the entire region.

Prince Albert's pulp and paper mill was closed in 2006. (CBC)

"There was 700 jobs here. There was probably 1,400 jobs out on the field cutting the lumber, hauling the trees, truckers," Dionne said. "People just don't realize it wasn't just 700 jobs — it was quite a few more"

The loss of the pulp mill wasn't the first blow to the community, Dionne said.

"We've gone through this. We had a meat packing plant that closed. We had a brewery that closed. And we're surviving now that the mill is not open."

The mill was sold to the Paper Excellence Group five years ago. However, a non-compete clause prevents them from producing kraft pulp until 2020.

By then, Dionne said the mill will require all new equipment, and he has doubts whether that business case can be successful.

However, Prince Albert's mayor said they were fortunate that many of those who lost their jobs a decade ago chose to stay in Prince Albert. And today, many of them are small business owners.

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