In the June 19, 2020 edition of the Thunder Bay Chronicle an unnamed MNRF spokesman stated that the Ministry would continue to work with and support the Town of Fort Frances and surrounding communities. Really? Let’s review the actions of the MNRF from May 2014, when Resolute announced the permanent closure of the Fort Frances mill to July 2019 when the mill was sold to the community development company.
In 2017, the MNRF forgave the repayment of the 22.5 million dollar loan made to Resolute. In 2018 the MNRF applied the 10 year extension based on third party audits between 2002 to 2012 to the Cross Route Forest license. The six years immediately preceding this extension were ignored by the Ministry. Why? The Fort Frances mill was partially idled in 2012 and permanently closed in 2014. You can’t audit activity that doesn’t exist or activity that contravenes the directions and conditions of the SFL. I fail to see how any of these actions could be characterized as working with or supporting Fort Frances and surrounding communities.
Perhaps this MNRF spokesman was referring to the assistance, and support the Ministry delivered when several companies tried to buy the Fort Frances mill from Resolute. The Restrictive Covenant Agreement includes a statement by Resolute, that the Company would not have sold the Fort Frances mill had the Buyer not agreed to be bound by these convenants. The MNRF supported this position throughout the disposition process of the Fort Frances pulp and paper mill, at the expense of the Town of Fort Frances and surrounding communities. The ongoing demolition of the Kraft Mill and the buildings for three paper machines also violates one of the main pillars of this governments Forest Sector Strategy “Putting More Wood to Work”.
We will consider the future opportunities available to Fort Frances and surrounding communities to utilize forest resources once this facility is demolished next.