Redeveloper purchases idle mill

Sam Odrowski

Resolute Forest Products has sold the properties comprising the Fort Frances mill to a subsidiary of Riversedge Development that is held in partnership with a local entity.

Fort Frances councillor Douglas Judson said the announcement is a “milestone” in their effort to reopen the idle paper mill but time will tell what kind.

“We have had opportunities to meet with representatives of Riversedge and we look forward to learning more about their plans and how our community’s goals and economic future align with those plans,” he remarked.

Since news of a potential new operator of the idle mill surfaced late last year, the town has been working to preserve the key economic asset’s operating capacity and makes use of the regions’s publicly-owned forest resource.

“This file has been our top priority since we were sworn into office on Dec. 3,” noted Coun. Judson.

“We have had to fight every step of the way–for our wood rights, against bogus threats of litigation, and just to be heard as a small town in the wilderness.

“It’s high-stakes stuff, and it’s not over yet. But our council has been emboldened along the way by the significant public support and advocacy we have seen from local residents–people with roots in the forestry sector that want to see a productive future for this asset,” Coun. Judson added.

The town said it is grateful for all of the allies who have assisted in the fight to reopen the Fort Frances mill in neighbouring communities and area First Nations.

It also wishes to thank local MPP Greg Rickford and labour leaders for their ongoing support of the communities’ best economic interests.

A statement issued by the town on Monday said the mill properties have been not only an economic driver for the Fort Frances area, but a recipient of significant public investment over the years.

The township is currently awaiting the buyer to confirm its intentions for the mill properties and their return to economic productivity for Fort Frances and the district.

“I welcome new ownership of the facility and look forward to working with them,” said Coun. Judson.

“This mill is a key economic asset that is intimately tied to the future of our community–and frankly our town’s ability to balance the books. We take its future very seriously.”

Mayor June Caul and council wish to thank the community for its patience during this transition period.