Mayor Bob Simpson says Council did a lot of work during his first term in office to prepare for another mill closure…

“Making sure we had the financial leeway we needed to accommodate another mill closure and not lose any ground in terms of the investments we need to make to create a sustainable community, and our rebranding initiatives, our investments, are all designed around being in an economic transition. So from the city’s perspective we have been planning for this, and expecting this.”

Simpson says, while he feels for the families that are impacted, the timing of the shutdown is good…

“Our economy is booming. We’re going to have some of the largest public sector and private sector investment in our community over the next year to five years out. We have critical job vacancies just now in many of those sectors that i think some of the mill workers from Tolko could easily find their way into, so I think from a timing perspective there is better opportunity now for a lot of those workers to stay at home, and what we need to do is build a transition strategy to make sure that they can back fill some of the jobs that are going vacant right now, because we don’t have the bodies.”

Simpson says the city is committed to working with the province to add any incremental resources that it can.

He says he has also spoken to the Minister of Forests as well as senior staff in that Ministry about making sure that they put a transition strategy in place, not just for the workers but for the community.