Town council is scheduled to vote on a resolution regarding the idled Resolute Forest Products mill during a special meeting tonight.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting, which will start at 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre.
Several stakeholders also are expected to speak in support of maintaining a stable, equitable wood supply for the community.
The resolution states the town should demand that Resolute:
- allow all bidders on the mill the ability to engage in dialogue with government prior to submitting their bid so that they can reasonably prepare for a successful acquisition of the mill;
- allow sufficient time for bids on the mill to be prepared and submitted;
- inform the Town of Fort Frances, in confidence, of the identity of bidders so the town may engage in discussions with them and provide information that is responsive to the bidders' plans for the mill properties; and
- comply with the terms of the SFL [Sustainable Forest Licence] and engage in a process to provide access to wood fibre in the Crossroute Forest, reflecting such intention in any bid or tender package issued in respect of the sale of the mill.
The resolution goes on to state the Town of Fort Frances calls on the premier of Ontario and the minister of natural
resources and forestry to use all measures within their authority:
- to ensure the mill is open for business;
- to provide access to fibre in the Crossroute [Forest] to potential operators of the mill, in keeping with the text of the SFL; and
- to support outcomes for the mill which create jobs and prosperity in Fort Frances and surrounding municipalities and First Nations.
Some members of the public, meanwhile, are demanding that the local wood supply be ensured for any future owner of the mill by supporting an online petition.
Entitled “Ensure wood allocation for potential buyers to buy Fort Frances mill,” the petition was started Friday on change.org
As of press time today, it had garnered nearly 1,200 supporters.
The petition reads as follows: "The Sustainable Forest Licence (SFL) held by Resolute indicates that wood harvested from the Crossroute is meant-first and foremost-to supply the Fort Frances mill.
"Resolute closed the Fort Frances mill over five years ago but has continued to take wood from our forest to support its other operations.
"The Fort Frances mill is a valuable asset to the community and the province must ensure any potential buyer who intends to operate the mill for the greater good of the community has a sustainable, affordable wood allocation.
“We respectfully call upon the province, including Premier Doug Ford, our sitting MPP, Greg Rickford, and John Yakabuski, the Minister of Natural Resources, to ensure the future operation of the Fort Frances by ensuring a fibre allocation which is sustainable, and affordable, to any purchaser intending to operate the Fort Frances mill.”