Opposition presses about sale of scrap to save taxpayer money
Questions surrounding the remediation and demolition of the former Abitibi Bowater Mill property in Grand Falls-Windsor were raised during question period in the House of Assembly yesterday.
© File photo
The former Abitibi Bowater paper mill in Grand Falls-Windsor ceased production in 2009 and was expropriated by the Provincial Government. It has been vacant since. In late 2012 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the province would be responsible for the multimillion-dollar remediation of the facility.
In March, following the presentation of the 2014 provincial budget, Grand-Falls-Windsor-Buchans MHA Susan Sullivan told the Advertiser that funds for the full demolition of the paper mill, which ceased production in 2009 and was expropriated by the province, were included in the budget.
“We’ve been five years now, and we’ve seen no use for the mill whatsoever. We’ve had a number of people tour, take a look at it, and invariably they’ve come away and not shown any interest in the mill infrastructure at all,” Sullivan said at the time.
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball asked Premier Tom Marshall on Tuesday whether or not the mill would indeed be demolished this year as Sullivan suggested.
Ball said the Minister of Transportation and Works, Nick McGrath, had not confirmed the building would be demolished, but would only be considered for demolition,
McGrath responded to Ball’s question, saying, “The commitment was made to put out a (Request for Proposals) this year to demolish the mill in Grand Falls-Windsor. That RFP is out now.As soon as the RFP closes, then we will sit down with the bidders, go through the normal process, and when we award the tender that process will start this year.”
Ball followed up his original question with another, asking the minister about the use of taxpayers dollars for the demolition, and the possibility of selling scrap medal to offset costs.
“The former Abitibi mill sits empty, waiting to be demolished, as I said, while other mills in Eastern Canada have been sold as scrap to metal companies for millions of dollars . . . Did you ever think about or did you try to sell the mill to a scrap metal company that would indeed create revenue for this province?”
Minister McGrath responded that the sale of assets is something that is being considered by the government and is included in the RFP process.
“That is what this government is all about, Mr. Speaker, is saving money and making things better for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” McGrath said.