White River Forest Products to reopen sawmill at White River, Ontario this fall after forming partnership with communities, Pic Mobert First Nation; company purchased assets from Domtar in 2009 to save mill, preserve wood allocation
WHITE RIVER, Ontario
June 21, 2013
– Frank Dottori, Chairman and CEO of White River Forest Products Ltd., today announced the formation of a partnership with the communities of White River and the Pic Mobert First Nation that will result in the reopening of the forest operations and sawmill at White River, Ontario by this fall. The announcement was made at the White River Mill site which is already busy with activity readying the mill and mill yard.
White River Forest Products Ltd., was formed in 2009 as a joint initiative of the Township of White River and the Pic Mobert First Nation in response to the closure of the Mill and Woodlands Operations formerly owned and operated by Domtar. The new company purchased the assets from Domtar in 2009 and was successful in securing a sustainable forest license in the following year.
"Our goal was to protect the Mill from a wrecking ball and preserve the wood allocation needed to reopen the mill once the right investment partner was found and wood markets recovered - and we did just that.", said White River Mayor Angelo Bazzoni.
This initiative provided my community with a unique opportunity to both support the revitalization of the local and regional economy, and to ensure that the economic and employment needs and goals of our Band members for the forest products industry could be realized", said Pic Mobert Chief Johanna Desmoulin. "We look forward to our Band members and their families benefitting from work that will be created by these operations that are located within our traditional territory.".
"I commend the leaders of these two communities for their vision and foresight in stepping up to protect these assets and the related wood basket", said Dottori who is also the founder and retired CEO of Tembec. "I saw value in this opportunity and the strong community support and participation in the venture. We also recognize the strong support that has been extended by Ontario for this initiative."
The community and company leaders acknowledged the inspiration and contributions of the Company's founding President, Jeffery Butler, who passed away suddenly in 2012. "Jeff's tireless efforts laid the groundwork for the wonderful developments that are now occurring", said Mayor Bazzoni.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Minister David Orazetti was on hand for the announcement and said, "Our government is encouraged at the prospect of the reopening of the sawmill in White River and the re-establishment of these jobs in the community. Economic opportunities in the forestry sector are vital to Northerners and I commend Pic Mobert First Nation, the town of White River and their private shareholder partners in developing this cooperative relationship which we are hopeful will lead to renewed prosperity in both of these communities.
Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle commented, "As a passionate Northerner I am absolutely thrilled to see the White River Sawmill back in operation and I commend this great partnership between the community of White River and the Pic Mobert First Nation. The re-opening of this mill will certainly increase prosperity throughout the region and I'm very pleased to see so many employment opportunities coming back to this site."
Dan Friyia, General Manager of the Superior East Community Development Corporation, was on hand to announce a loan to the White River Forest Products Ltd. "After witnessing a significant decline in our region's forest products industry for the last several years, we are delighted to see the vision of the communities and their private partners come to fruition -- we are proud to be able to support their efforts" said Friyia.
Work on re-opening the mill commenced recently and a single shift will commence in the fall of 2013; a second shift could follow as early as the spring of 2014. Once fully operational, the company would directly employ approximately 90 people. A similar number of jobs will be added in the forest, transportation and service industry.
White River Forest Products Ltd. is a privately owned corporation founded and co-owned by the communities of White River and the Pic Mobert First Nation and two private shareholders (companies owned by Frank Dottori and David Butler, respectively).