Mayor banking on budget

Terry Roberts
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Province forms committee to help deal with mill closure

Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Rex Barnes has mixed feelings about how the rest of this month will unfold.

First, there's the pending closure of the newsprint mill, where employees will soon work their final shift. It represents the loss of a century-old industry in the region, and some 750 direct jobs.

The AbitibiBowater paper mill in Grand Falls-Windsor. - File photo by The Advertiser

Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Rex Barnes has mixed feelings about how the rest of this month will unfold.

First, there's the pending closure of the newsprint mill, where employees will soon work their final shift. It represents the loss of a century-old industry in the region, and some 750 direct jobs.

Second, there's the provincial budget scheduled for March 26. Barnes and others have high hopes that it will include a significant announcement about the area's economic recovery.

"We're anticipating seeing something in the budget. If not, at least give us an indication it is coming after the budget," Barnes said Wednesday. "If there's nothing in the budget for the town of Grand Falls-Windsor with regards to the downturn in the forestry industry, there are many people going to be asking many questions of our politicians."

Barnes said the town council has been working quietly on a number of initiatives over the past 18 months, and he expects that work will soon bear fruit.

But he admits it's tough being the mayor of a town that is losing one of its main employers.

He said the mill's demise may have been predicted, but that doesn't soften the impact.

"We just have to hope that things will work out for the families and the employees, and we'll move forward," he said.

In the latest response from the government, a new community development committee was unveiled Wednesday to help respond to the closure of the AbitibiBowater newsprint mill.

The 15-member committee was announced by Innovation, Trade and Rural Development Minister Shawn Skinner, who chairs a ministerial task force established last year when the future of the mill appeared to be in serious doubt.

The committee consists of community, business and union leaders, and it's been asked to identify short- and long-term opportunities and priorities for economic development and diversification.

Its members include: Deborah Armstrong, Peggy Bartlett, Ben Blackmore, Janis Boone, Sandra Carey, Cyril Farrell, Darrin Finn, Heather Fudge, Harry Hallett, Gary Hennessey, Karl Inder, Cyril Langdon, George MacDonald, Wayne Mills and Carolyn Morgan.

The committee is supported by an interdepartmental senior officials committee, Skinner explained.

"The community development committee will play a central role in facilitating information sharing, greater dialogue, and collaboration between the provincial government and communities impacted by the closure of the mill," said Skinner.

Skinner and Human Resources, Labour and Employment Minister Susan Sullivan met with the committee Tuesday.

Barnes is pleased, and described the committee as "a group of people who have a history of getting things done and are leaders in our community."

troberts@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Grand Falls, Grand Falls-Windsor

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Recent comments

  • NL_Expatriate@yahoo.ca
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Wood/bog peat pellet plant.
    Long Strand Lumber plant.
    Sprung green house.
    Synthetic wood fibre cloth mill
    Saw mill manufactured house factory
    small micro Wind turbine factory.
    www.otherpower.com
    fish meal animal feed plant from seal carcasses.
    College trade school

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Sure, Greg, Sprung greenhouse, because the last Sprung greenhouse was such a resounding success.

  • RE: Today's Advertiser
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Seems in today's local paper one councillor is more concerned about planning the party - The Salmon Festival. The councillor and finance personnel from the town attended the recent ECMA in Corner Brook to scout performers. They say that people don't realize the planning. Well, in case the Town of GFW hasn't realized it yet, but there will be lots of unemployed people in the town very soon and the mayor and council should be looking at ways to trim the town's spendings rather than sending two people off to the awards on the tax payers expense. Get with the program Council!! Who wants to party when there's job losses? This event is only for those who have money and out of town partiers.

  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Go for the low paid call centre jobs that are going to India.

  • Unemployed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Someone needs to get something done for those that lost employment in this province. Many have talked up a storm about creating employment, importing labour and so forth. If there is such a demand, why are people still being forced to look outside the province to pay the bills here?

    Seems foolish to take the few jobs from those that live here now and provide them to others from different countries when the local population is forced out.

    Employers and government need to look at the problem, and not create a wider gap in this province if it every wants to become more then the welfare capital of Canada.

  • NL_Expatriate@yahoo.ca
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Wood/bog peat pellet plant.
    Long Strand Lumber plant.
    Sprung green house.
    Synthetic wood fibre cloth mill
    Saw mill manufactured house factory
    small micro Wind turbine factory.
    www.otherpower.com
    fish meal animal feed plant from seal carcasses.
    College trade school

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Sure, Greg, Sprung greenhouse, because the last Sprung greenhouse was such a resounding success.

  • RE: Today's Advertiser
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Seems in today's local paper one councillor is more concerned about planning the party - The Salmon Festival. The councillor and finance personnel from the town attended the recent ECMA in Corner Brook to scout performers. They say that people don't realize the planning. Well, in case the Town of GFW hasn't realized it yet, but there will be lots of unemployed people in the town very soon and the mayor and council should be looking at ways to trim the town's spendings rather than sending two people off to the awards on the tax payers expense. Get with the program Council!! Who wants to party when there's job losses? This event is only for those who have money and out of town partiers.

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Go for the low paid call centre jobs that are going to India.

  • Unemployed
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Someone needs to get something done for those that lost employment in this province. Many have talked up a storm about creating employment, importing labour and so forth. If there is such a demand, why are people still being forced to look outside the province to pay the bills here?

    Seems foolish to take the few jobs from those that live here now and provide them to others from different countries when the local population is forced out.

    Employers and government need to look at the problem, and not create a wider gap in this province if it every wants to become more then the welfare capital of Canada.