Riversedge Developments has purchased the Fort Frances mill, but the town is currently seeking a viable buyer with intentions of operating it.
There are three companies interested in purchasing the mill from Riversedge, including Rainy River Packaging which was formerly known as Repap Resources.
Mayor June Caul said, to her knowledge, there’s nothing barring a company from restarting the mill and noted that Riversedge CEO Justus Veldman said it would be a great relief to him if the mill is resold as it would mitigate the work involved in tearing it down.
“There have been different people through the mill and I haven’t heard anybody say that it can’t be restarted,” Mayor Caul remarked.
“I heard it’s in pretty decent shape considering its sat for five years now,” she added.
“Minister Rickford has very adamantly told us that he will make sure that the wood that is suppose to be in Fort Frances comes back to Fort Frances if we have a buyer for the restart,” noted the mayor.
The town is “cautiously optimistic” for the restart of the mill now that they have a working group meeting with Veldman on a regular basis, according to Mayor Caul.
The working group consists of Couns. Douglas Judson and John McTaggart, Mayor June Caul, economic development officer Tannis Drysdale, and CAO officer Doug Brown.
As well, the new manager of the mill property, Mitch Lepage, who formerly worked for New Gold Inc. has been working on cleaning up the mill sites.
Mayor Caul said because Fort Frances has historically been a paper mill town, it’s council’s top priority to keep it a paper mill town moving forward.
She told the Times she’s glad to be dealing with Riversedge Developments now that the mill has been purchased from Resolute Forest Products.
“I feel much more at ease knowing Resolute is not the owner anymore because we had a very difficult time dealing with them,” Mayor Caul remarked.
“My hope is that they are still not involved in some backroom issues, or anything that’s going on. Hopefully, they are out of it completely and we’ll be able to deal fairly with Riversedge.”