Wonderful problems to tackle

It came out of the blue to the people of Fort Frances and Rainy River District that a company was making an offer to buy the idled Resolute mill complex here.
It is a dreamed of Christmas present that a deal can be struck and the work will take place to get the mill up into operation in 2019.
Seldom are the beginning of negotiations ever announced in advance. Announcements normally take place at the conclusion of a deal.
In this case, though, Repap Resources Group has been working behind the scenes for several months lining up fibre, analyzing work that will have to go into making the mill operational again, as well as meeting with Unifor to discuss staffing of the mill and with both the province and federal governments.
Financing has been arranged for both the purchase and the renovations and start-up costs. The remaining question was whether or not there is a willing seller.
It’s been rumoured that the seller (Resolute) also has been active, looking at all the titles of property that are owned in Fort Frances and across the district.
They have been examining what has to be severed and transferred to either the town or province or other corporations before contractors could come in and begin the tearing down of the existing buildings and the rehabilitation of the property.
The selling of the Fort Frances mill could reduce their costs.
The announcement is creating a sense of new hope in Fort Frances. It was a banner day for June Caul, our new mayor, in revealing the news on Thursday morning.
Lots of decisions will have to be made, not just by the mayor and council but also potential workers and their families. How many workers who have travelled away for work out west and at northern mines will choose to return to Fort Frances.
In many cases, new workers and new management will seek to make Fort Frances their home.
That will place pressure on developers to open up new subdivisions. It will place pressure on council to make available properties for housing expansion. It also may have an impact on schools that today are built for known enrolment to suddenly discover schools are overcrowded.
All of these issues are a wonderful problem to tackle. Opportunities will abound.
Nothing will happen until there is a sale. But councils, not only in Fort Frances but across the district, will have to examine how accommodations can be made for the mill to begin operations again. And they, too, will have little time to make those decisions.
Merry Christmas!

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