Port Alice pulp mill's future is uncertain

The mill in the Vancouver Island village of Port Alice suddenly laid off the remaining employees on Wednesday.

The Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill has been dormant since 2015, but at one point employed over 400 staff, and was the driving force in the town.

The mill is owned by a company based in China, and Port Alice's Mayor, Kevin Cameron, says the lay-offs of the final 12 staff is a reactive move to the arrest of the Huawei executive.

"The Huawei executive under house arrest has far reaching consequences, not on the global aspect, but even to the village of Port Alice" adding that "basically we were told Canada isn't a friendliest place to do business anymore, with one of their top executives under house arrest." 

He adds that the town's biggest issue they're facing is the fact that the mill hasn't paid property taxes in the last year.  The mill, which contributes 70% of the town's tax base, and currently owes over a million dollars in taxes.

Cameron says it's too early to tell what the future holds for the mill, but is staying positive that something good could still come to pass.

"They're actively seeking investors, and there is another group that's interested in the mill site for green technologies."  He goes on to say that the best case scenario would be re-opening the mill and restoring it's operations.

Cameron says his community is very tight-knit, connected, and positive, and adds that while they are actively looking for new investors, they will also have to wait and see what the future holds for Port Alice.

Contact Us

If you have a news tip, story idea or to reach a radio host, contact us here.