Newfoundland government accused of 'indifference' to closure of Sexton Lumber with 79 lay-offs due to log shortage; opposition says province is sitting on vast timber resources of 280,000 m3 but will not grant 40,000 m3 needed to keep sawmill operating

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland , October 3, 2013 (press release) – Opposition Natural Resources Critic Dwight Ball says with the recent shut down of Sexton Lumber’s sawmill, it’s obvious the PC Government is failing the forest industry.

“Sexton Lumber was forced to shut down their mill this week and lay off 79 workers because Government will not allow the company access to more timber in central Newfoundland,” said Ball. “Government has 280,000 cubic metres of timber resources being held in central, but will not grant Sexton access to the 40,000 they need to keep their mill operating.”

Ball noted that Government’s indifference to this issue is telling of the overall lack of attention they pay to the forest industry.

“Under this Government, two of our three paper mills have closed, and now they choose to sit on vast timber resources, instead of allowing a local company access,” said Ball. “It’s important to remember that the Sexton sawmill is also the largest feeder of pulp chips to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, so the effects of this shut down are wide-ranging.”

“Government says they are performing their due diligence on the timber resource in central, but this has been ongoing since 2009. While Government continues to delay, our forest industry is in jeopardy,” said Ball. “The fact that the PC Government is not working with this company and their employees to facilitate growth, shows their lack of planning for long-term economic success in our rural regions.”

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