With negotiations ongoing with Tla’amin Nation and Paper Excellence for the tiskwat mill, Powell River’s mayor hopes the planned projects are successful and revenue can resume.
Tla’amin says the site of the now-closed paper mill is where their traditional village was. They say they sent a letter of intent to Paper Excellence in September to purchase the 300-acre mill site and all its industrial assets.
They say they are continuing to work with federal and provincial governments to pursue policy and partnership discussions that will support the re-acquisition of the land.
“Our people were forcibly removed from this land over 100 years ago. We have never benefited from the dam or mill that was built on our former village,” said Chief John Hackett.
“Our strategic partnerships and negotiations team has put our Nation on a pathway to secure the site and plan for community and regional benefits that will last many generations to come.”
Powell River mayor Dave Formosa says he hopes the negotiations continue as the mill was a big economic and revenue driver. However, he adds the costs could be large.
“It’s a very expensive operation to own and hold until a new project can come forward,” said Formosa.
Formosa adds Tla’amin would need a fair bit of financial backing and support from governments and experts in order to keep the project running.
He adds the mill was a large taxpayer in the community, and a new project will be necessary for its growth.
“Things will change as the mill closes and it starts to take the machinery out, then that tax picture will change,” said Formosa. “Regardless, there’s a significant amount of taxes for the community. Whether it will be enough, I don’t know.”
“If a new hydrogen facility comes, that’s a great form of living jobs for the community. We support that very much.”
He adds this is a “massive project” and hopes Tla’amin and government partners will be able to make the project happen.