There may be a glimmer of hope that the Columbia Forest Products facility in Rutherglen may reopen.
In a news release today,Jay Aspin, MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming says he is engaged in the goal of reopening the facility.
The veneer mill has been closed since 2010 when markets and economic conditions forced the company to cease operations. At its peak, the mill employed more than 300 and was a very significant economic contributor to the Mattawa region.
“It’s very important that we get all the significant participants rowing in the same direction. It worked for the ski hill and I don’t see why it can’t work with this challenge,” said Aspin.
Aspin attended a meeting at the plant earlier this week along with representatives of the company, MPP Vic Fedeli and the Mattawa Bonfield Economic Development Corporation. The meeting included a tour of the plant facilities which have been kept in good shape since the closing.
“There were a number of positive facts that emerged from that initial meeting. American markets have recovered, the American dollar is strong and the company is seriously assessing adding more capacity in coordination with the other plants it operates” stated Aspin.
"Even if we get 10 to 15% of the plant’s peak capacity operating again we will have developed 40 to 50 jobs in our region that weren’t there before so that is certainly well worth the effort."