But Greg Dionne, the mayor of Prince Albert, said the impact was startling for the entire region.
“There was 700 jobs here. There was probably 1,400 jobs out on the field cutting the lumber, hauling the trees, truckers,” Dionne said. “People just don’t realize it wasn’t just 700 jobs — it was quite a few more”
The loss of the pulp mill wasn’t the first blow to the community, Dionne said.
“We’ve gone through this. We had a meat packing plant that closed. We had a brewery that closed. And we’re surviving now that the mill is not open.”
The mill was sold to the Paper Excellence Group five years ago. However, a non-compete clause prevents them from producing kraft pulp until 2020.
By then, Dionne said the mill will require all new equipment, and he has doubts whether that business case can be successful.
However, Prince Albert’s mayor said they were fortunate that many of those who lost their jobs a decade ago chose to stay in Prince Albert. And today, many of them are small business owners.