Truck shortage slows mill demo

Demolition of the Fort Frances paper mill started last fall. But Jeff Norton, president of Canadian National Demolition (CND), said during the council meeting on Monday evening that shortages of trucks to transport material to Sault Ste. Marie has slowed down the progress.

This update was given after Doug Brown, acting CAO, asked Norton to provide details and clear misunderstanding regarding the mill demolition timeline.

Norton said although the project is doing fine and going well, the demolition process slowed down a little bit because there is a lack of transport.

“We got ahead of ourselves,” Norton said. “We need to tidy up on site and get ready for the next phase. The project is doing fine. It’s going well.”

Norton said when a building is demolished, a product is created. The trucks fulfill the orders that are made and built at the mill.

“The product, which is steel, ends up in Sault Ste. Marie,” Norton said. “We can only get so much market share or an order every month, given the market currently, which no one would have ever expected during COVID.”

Trucks are spread out because they’re trying to satisfy all the other contractors in all of North America, Norton said, adding that the geographical location of Sault Ste. Marie and Fort Frances play a role.

“That is 14 hours one way in the truck,” Norton said. “You can only move so much material in one week, or a month. Everybody wants to move products. We’re all fighting for orders. When it became difficult to move material and get orders, we had to slow things down.”

Therefore, Norton said there is no reason for the CND to move as quickly as they were moving.

“It became counterproductive because we have so much product that we can’t move,” Norton said. “The answer was to downsize the crew, slow it down, get the orders and then continue because we have to clear the way to make room for the next segment for demolition.”

Brown said they have a site plan control agreement in place with the owners of the property, adding that Norton is responsible for the structures, and he works for a company called Combined Metals.

“There’s been a few people concerned about it looking like a war zone that we’re going to cause all kinds of contamination to the river,” Brown said. “We have a team of administration that works with the property owner, and we’re making sure that everything’s done in accordance with all the regulations that are out there.”

Norton said the entire project is still sitting at 60 per cent complete.

Demolition of the Fort Frances paper mill started last fall. But Jeff Norton, president of Canadian National Demolition (CND), said during the council meeting on Monday evening that shortages of trucks to transport material to Sault Ste. Marie has slowed down the progress.

This update was given after Doug Brown, acting CAO, asked Norton to provide details and clear misunderstanding regarding the mill demolition timeline.

Norton said although the project is doing fine and going well, the demolition process slowed down a little bit because there is a lack of transport.

“We got ahead of ourselves,” Norton said. “We need to tidy up on site and get ready for the next phase. The project is doing fine. It’s going well.”

Norton said when a building is demolished, a product is created. The trucks fulfill the orders that are made and built at the mill.

“The product, which is steel, ends up in Sault Ste. Marie,” Norton said. “We can only get so much market share or an order every month, given the market currently, which no one would have ever expected during COVID.”

Trucks are spread out because they’re trying to satisfy all the other contractors in all of North America, Norton said, adding that the geographical location of Sault Ste. Marie and Fort Frances play a role.

“That is 14 hours one way in the truck,” Norton said. “You can only move so much material in one week, or a month. Everybody wants to move products. We’re all fighting for orders. When it became difficult to move material and get orders, we had to slow things down.”

Therefore, Norton said there is no reason for the CND to move as quickly as they were moving.

“It became counterproductive because we have so much product that we can’t move,” Norton said. “The answer was to downsize the crew, slow it down, get the orders and then continue because we have to clear the way to make room for the next segment for demolition.”

Brown said they have a site plan control agreement in place with the owners of the property, adding that Norton is responsible for the structures, and he works for a company called Combined Metals.

“There’s been a few people concerned about it looking like a war zone that we’re going to cause all kinds of contamination to the river,” Brown said. “We have a team of administration that works with the property owner, and we’re making sure that everything’s done in accordance with all the regulations that are out there.”

Norton said the entire project is still sitting at 60 per cent complete.

“I would say the final cleanup, and substantial completion would be a year from today,” Norton said. “That would be subject to change, given demand. If the demand changes, it could speed up.”