‘The long haul’

Mayor has faith in pa­per mill’s longevity af­ter tar­iff bat­tle win

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY GARY KEAN [email protected]­ern­star.com Twitter: WS_GaryKean

The fact Cor­ner Brook Pulp and Pa­per seemed will­ing to en­dure the threat of costly Amer­i­can tar­iffs gives Mayor Jim Par­sons con­fi­dence in the com­pany’s longterm fu­ture in the city.

The fact Cor­ner Brook Pulp and Pa­per seemed will­ing to en­dure the threat of costly Amer­i­can tar­iffs gives Mayor Jim Par­sons con­fi­dence in the com­pany’s long-term fu­ture in the city.

Par­sons was re­act­ing Thurs­day to news one day ear­lier that tar­iffs the United States gov­ern­ment had been ready to im­pose on the Cana­dian newsprint in­dus­try will not be im­ple­mented.

The tar­iffs were be­lieved to have likely cost Cor­ner Brook Pulp and Pa­per around $30 mil­lion in busi­ness with its U.S. mar­ket­place.

The com­pany it­self has not said much pub­licly about the tar­iffs is­sue and still had not re­sponded to a re­quest for an in­ter­view about the lat­est de­vel­op­ments as of dead­line Thurs­day.

The mayor said he ap­pre­ci­ates all of the work done by the com­pany, its em­ploy­ees, the newsprint in­dus­try and all lev­els of gov­ern­ment to help con­vince the Amer­i­cans to over­turn the tar­iffs.

“Ev­ery­one han­dled this as we should have, with calm heads,” said Par­sons.

Of­ten, when­ever there is a threat against the busi­ness op­er­a­tions of the pa­per mill, Par­sons said the ru­mour mill churns out the naysay­ers who be­lieve the clo­sure of the plant is in­evitably im­mi­nent. With the com­pany seek­ing out more mar­kets out­side of the United States and tak­ing mea­sures to cut more of its op­er­a­tional costs, Par­sons be­lieves the mill is in a bet­ter po­si­tion now than it was be­fore the worry of the tar­iffs.

“Any time when there is ad­ver­sity like this, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to make changes and re-ex­am­ine how to do things,” said the mayor. “You can do it one of two ways: you can do noth­ing and let things go bad or you can in­no­vate and fig­ure out bet­ter ways to do things. I think that’s what they did.”

Par­sons said it does no good to base­lessly in­sin­u­ate the mill is doomed when it faces eco­nomic chal­lenges. The con­cerns over the tar­iffs, or the im­pact if they had been im­ple­mented, could have been pro­longed but Par­sons firmly be­lieves the mill would have done all it could to re­main vi­able.

“I’ve got con­fi­dence Kruger is here for the long haul and all our busi­nesses and cit­i­zens should too,” he said. “Don’t lis­ten to the hype some­times. Look at the facts and the way this was han­dled.”

What oth­ers are say­ing

Gudie Hutchings, the Lib­eral Com­mons mem­ber for Long Range Moun­tains, was trav­el­ling and un­avail­able for an in­ter­view about the tar­iffs be­ing turned over. Her of­fice pro­vided the fol­low­ing emailed state­ment:

“The drop­ping of the Amer­i­can tar­iffs on Cana­dian newsprint is ex­cel­lent news for our coun­try, and es­pe­cially for peo­ple right here in Cor­ner Brook. Cor­ner Brook Pulp and Pa­per is a ma­jor part of our econ­omy in New­found­land and Labrador, and th­ese tar­iffs were putting at risk the liveli­hood of over 500 em­ploy­ees. Con­grat­u­la­tions to all the ad­vo­cates who worked hard to bat­tle against th­ese tar­iffs, es­pe­cially the Kruger Inc. team. This is a great de­ci­sion which is best for our forestry work­ers right here in the Long Range Moun­tains and through­out New­found­land and Labrador.”

WESTERN STAR FILE PHOTO

The mayor of Cor­ner Brook be­lieves Cor­ner Brook Pulp and Pa­per will be around the city for a long time.

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