Sudbury·Audio

Iroquois Falls struggles to cope with Resolute paper mill closure

The community of Iroquois Falls is trying to figure out what to do now that its largest employer is leaving.
Resolute Forest Product's pulp and paper mill in Iroquois Falls, Ont., will close later this month. (Resolute Forest Products)

The community of Iroquois Falls is trying to figure out what to do now that its largest employer is leaving.

In two weeks, Resolute Forest Products will shut down its newsprint mill. The company said a decline in the demand for newsprint, as well as attacks from environmental groups, is to blame.

The company said the closure will mean about 180 employees will lose their jobs.

Dale Roman’s husband is among those workers, and she characterized the mill as the fabric that stitches the community together.

“It’s also losing a part of yourself when it’s been part of you, part of your community,” she said.

“He worked there; his father worked there, his brother worked there, so there’s a lot of history.”

We’ve never known this town not to have a paper mill.- Iroquois Falls Mayor Michael Shea

Roman, who is also the president of the town’s chamber of commerce, added the economic impact of the mill’s closure will be immense.

Others fear the economy will be greatly impacted as well, including Rick Charlebois, who owns an electronics store in the community.

“My life is invested in my business and I know I’m not the only one,” he said.

His family has called Iroquois Falls home for three generations, and Charlebois compares the loss of the mill to having a terminally ill relative.

“You don’t want to face the final outcome,” he said. “But when it happens, you’re not surprised.”

Mayor Michael Shea said the closure will have a huge rippling effect.

“We’ve never known this town not to have a paper mill, so it’ll be something very different to adapt to,” he said.

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