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Minister says B.C. government will ensure ‘necessary supports’ for laid off pulp mill workers

PORT ALICE, B.C. – After a mass layoff this week at the Neucel mill in Port Alice, B.C.’s forest minister is vowing to support the workers who are out of a job.

All the employees at the Neucel mill received lay-off notices on Wednesday, and it’s unknown if the facility would have any staff maintained, according to Port Alice mayor Kevin Cameron.

Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson offered his sympathies to the workers who were laid off at the mill, which made up 70 per cent of the community’s property tax revenues.

“Staff in my ministry (had) been working closely with the company with a view to re-opening the mill.  This news is a very unfortunate,” Donaldson said, in a statement.

“As they have done in the past, my ministry’s regional economic officers will be reaching out to the Village and workers to ensure they have the necessary supports.”

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Donaldson said these supports and services include job fairs; skills training and career counselling; and support for families, as well as economic diversification strategies.

Cameron, meanwhile, said that it’s unlikely the mill will open again, and with “past councils and past people in charge” failing to realize there had been a paradigm shift.

The newsroom has also reached out to North Island MLA Claire Trevena for comment.

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