Jim Scott was anxiously awaiting confirmation that his town’s paper mill had been saved on Sunday.
“I haven’t heard anything, either from the seller or buyer,” the mayor of The Pas said. “I’ve been waiting for my phone to ring. But, if it’s all true, what a wonderful thing this is.”
Tolko Industries had announced that it would be shutting down next month, putting 320 full-time employees out of work. But those workers have now approved of allowing a prospective buyer – American Industrial Acquisition Corporation (AIAC) – a three-year exemption in making pension payments, Unifor national representative Paul McKie confirmed.
“It will be called the Canadian Kraft Paper Industries and the sale should have been finalized Saturday,” McKie said. “Tolko just needed to sign off on the papers on Friday.”
Reps from Tolko and AIAC could not be reached for comment Sunday.
“It was tough to choose between the job and the exemption,” McKie said. “Not only would (workers) have lost their jobs but they would have had to relocate. And that would have been a devastating economic blow to the community.”
There has been some speculation an official sale will be announced Monday.
“So, they will not be closing Dec. 2 and that will be a seamless transition,” McKie said.
The town had also offered a three-year tax exemption.
“It really looks positive,” Scott said. “If it is what it appears to be, it’s nothing short of fantastic.”