Critical lease for wood on Crown land still lacking, in addition to other approvals, as Pacific West readies to buy, restart NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill in Nova Scotia; any new lease should give province greater control, says official

Sandy Yang

Sandy Yang

Aug 16, 2012 – Industry Intelligence Inc.

LOS ANGELES , August 16, 2012 () –

As Pacific West Commercial Corp. readies to possibly buy and restart the NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd. mill in Nova Scotia, a fiber supply agreement is still lacking in addition to various approvals, reported The Chronicle Herald on Aug. 16.

Much attention has been paid to the approvals needed but not much has been mentioned about the lack of a lease for access to the province’s land.

Purchase of the Point Tupper mill, which has been closed since last September, recently received approval from creditors but awaits an advanced tax ruling and a discounted power rate, The Chronicle Herald reported.

While a lease for the Crown land has not yet been signed it would give the province more control over the licensed tract and timber, said Dan Davis, a spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Dept. of Natural Resources.

The province aims to make sure that any future forestry licenses include such considerations as “certification, protected areas, ecosystem-based management, reducing clearcutting, and other values,” he said, reported The Chronicle Herald.

It is important that any future leased land not include any areas to be set aside for conservation or the province will have to compensate lease holders, said Matt Miller, forestry campaign coordinator with the Ecology Action Center.

The Nova Scotia government has committed to protect 12% of Nova Scotia’s land by 2015.

Pacific West should also maintain a high standard of harvesting practices and continue to use wood from land certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, Miller said, The Chronicle Herald reported.

Earlier this year, Natural Resource Minister Charlie Parker repealed the Stora Forest Industries Ltd. Agreement Act, which gave Stora Enso Oyj a 50-year lease on Crown land, and subsequently rolled the agreement over to NewPage.

This gave NewPage about 40% of the province’s Crown land, or about 11% of the province’s total land area. However, with only weeks left before the mill is potentially expected to restart, the lease has not yet been signed, reported The Chronicle Herald.

The primary source of this article is The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Aug. 16, 2012.


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