Forestry package expected Thursday

Natural Resources minister David Ramsay is expected to announce his government’s plan for the forestry sector in Ontario on Thursday morning in Thunder Bay.
Fort Frances Coun. Tannis Drysdale said the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association has been informed that Ramsay will deliver the package in Thunder Bay in the morning and then again in Timmins that afternoon.
NOMA has invited all mayors and councillors of member municipalities to attend the announcement. Coun. Drysdale said she will be going.
Locally, town council is hoping to get permission from the MNR to hook up through a conference call for those councillors who cannot attend the announcement in person.
The announcement is expected to be made at about 9:30 a.m. (EDT). There was no word as of press time today what may be included in the package.
The Ontario Forestry Coalition, of which NOMA is a member, has been lobbying for:
•a 50 percent fuel tax credit on the provincial portion of the tax when hauling fibre from the forest to the mills;
•a reliable supply of energy at reasonable prices;
•the government to assume 100 percent of the construction and maintenance costs of primary logging roads, and 50 percent of the costs of secondary forestry roads; and
•a business climate competitiveness fund similar to the one offered to the automotive sector.
Back in July, Abitibi-Consolidated announced it would permanently close one of its paper machines in Kenora in October and shut down the second one indefinitely.
As well, Tembec, Norampac, and Cascades all have announced layoffs and closures in the last two months.

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