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Mill closing in Espanola – Mayor, MPP reacts to news

Espanola Mayor Doug Gervais says his council and residents have a tough road ahead with the announcement of the closure of the pulp and paper mill in Espanola.

In a message to citizens, he says it is with heavy hearts that the Town of Espanola has learned of the Domtar Corporation’s announcement to indefinitely idle the pulp and paper operations at its Espanola facility.

Gervais emphasizes the workers and families of the pulp and paper industry have been the lifeblood of Espanola since the turn of the 20th century and the town will be advocating to all levels of government in support of the community.

Gervais adds council and town staff will do everything they can to help the workers and families impacted and the community at large.

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Meantime, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha says the news is devastating.

Mantha adds he’s already been in contact with various Ontario Ministers to highlight the impact that this will have on the community and region.

He says in the coming weeks he hopes to work with them, their federal counterparts, and impacted stakeholders to mitigate any concerns in the community.

Mantha says he is calling on both the provincial and federal governments to be at the table to address the factors that have led to the facility being idled adding protecting and promoting good-paying, stable jobs in the North should be a priority for all elected officials.

How the closure will roll out

Bonny Skene, Domtar’s Communication Director says human resources staff is on-site at the Domtar Mill in Espanola providing information and support to the workers.

Skene says she does not have a lot of specifics currently, but talks are also ongoing with the labour unions at the mill.

She adds a skeleton crew will be maintained to oversee the hydro dam operation and the boiler rooms for lagoons to maintain the environmental integrity of the mill when it closes.

The final shutdown is expected on November 30th.

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