The offer of $2.5 million in tax breaks to Tolko Industries has not persuaded the B.C. – based company to keep its paper mill in The Pas.

The Pas recently offered Tolko over $840,000 in tax relief in each of the next three years.

The Pas Mayor Jim Scott says he heard back from the company Thursday and is disappointed with their reaction.

Tolko still intends to close the facility in December, he said. The company announced in August it was shutting down operations and laying off more than 300 workers.

Interest in buying the mill

But there is a small glimmer of hope. Scott says the company has fielded some preliminary interest over the last week in purchasing the mill.

“[Tolko] said they were grateful for the tax offer and have asked for permission to forward the offer to other interested parties,” Scott said.

Scott called it a “little break in the wall,” but warned the tax holiday had been offered to Tolko in order to convince the company not to close on its target date of Dec. 2.

“This was an offer to Tolko, so I have to check with the rest of council if it could be extended to other interested parties,” Scott told CBC News.

Scott wasn’t sure he’d support offering the tax break to other companies because the goal was to keep the company from shutting down in December and avoiding a lengthy and costly closure and possible reopening.

“Three months is such a tiny amount of time to put something together,” said Scott.

Scott was encouraged to hear there had been at least some interest in buying the paper mill, and hopes the town’s aggressive action on supporting the mill remaining opening has helped.

Some good news

Scott says he also received some rare good news for the community today. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada has come to terms with several regional First Nations on the creation of a regional landfill.

The location selected is 10 kilometres from The Pas.

Scott says his community’s landfill was coming to the end of its operational life and the decision to build the new facility close to The Pas is one problem off the town’s list.

Financing and other details of the new landfill, which will serve several northern communities and First Nations, have not been worked out yet, Scott said.