Progress is being made to reopen the mill and an announcement will be made soon, according to staff at the Rainy River Future Development Corporation.
“We expect that council will have a statement in the coming weeks and we collectively remain very optimistic about the future of the mill asset,” local economic development consultant Tannis Drysdale said during Monday evening’s regular council meeting.
Former chief of staff for the Conservative party David McArthur, who visited the town on Monday, has been an “incredible asset” in helping negotiate the mill property with the government and forest interests, Drysdale noted.
“He has negotiated sophisticated, complicated, trans-Canada deals involving multiple stakeholders and most important to us, David’s first jobs were in the forest industry; he is familiar and could probably walk through a mill with his eyes closed,” she lauded.
Drysdale added that she is thankful to local MPP Greg Rickford, Mayor June Caul, and council for staying on top of the file since taking over council.
“They have been active and engaged and pivoting at the right moments and providing incredible leadership,” she remarked.
“As we are currently in a transitionary period with lots and lots of moving pieces. We have to thank all of the stakeholders and the public for their patience,” Drysdale added.
Meanwhile, the RRFDC was denied grant funding to do a feasibility study on the former Resolute wood lot and will now being seeking money from the province instead.
At Monday night’s meeting Drysdale asked council to provide support for an NOHFC grant to make up those numbers.
As for the new Enhanced Sustainable Forest License (ESFL), a draft agreement has gone from the RRFDC back to the working group and the committee has started to determine who will make up the new company responsible for wood allocations, beginning in April of 2020.
This effort is led by Mike Willick who began his career in forestry right here in Northwestern Ontario and during his career was an assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Natural Resources.