Mill pitches environmental committee to council

FORT FRANCES—After receiving a proposal last night from AbitibiBowater to consider starting a community environmental committee, town council will look into the matter further.
“AbitibiBowater [Fort Frances Division] over the past 30 years has invested considerable capital dollars in improving the environmental conditions at the facility and around the community,” read a joint-letter from mill manager John Harrison and technical and environmental superintendent Gary Rogozinski, which council received Tuesday night.
“This includes the extensive work we are presently completing on reducing the odour in the community that originates at our wastewater treatment facility,” it continued.
“We do believe, though, that we could improve our ongoing dialogue on environmental issues with the town.”
After some internal discussion, the letter stated mill management concluded the best solution for effective ongoing communication “may not be a series of press releases or open houses that eventually come to an end.”
“The communication process may better be addressed by participating in a community-organized committee, perhaps called a ‘community environmental committee,’” the letter read.
According to Harrison and Rogozinski, this committee would be a valuable new body for a number of reasons, including:
•the topics discussed would cover important environmental issues in the town itself and with which AbitibiBowater also has experience (this may include wastewater treatment, landfill, recycling issues, hazardous waste disposal, etc.);
•AbitibiBowater would make regular updates on environmental activities at the facility, which then could be made available to the local media; and
•AbitibiBowater would be willing to provide the first chairperson to get the committee organized.
While no one disagreed with the idea, council felt it begged further discussion and input from mill management, and so referred the matter to the Operations and Facilities executive committee for its recommendation.
(Fort Frances Times)