TYSON WHITNEY PHOTO The Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill in Port Alice has remained dormant since 2015. According to the union president, on Feb. 27, the remaining workers were all laid off.

Battered Port Alice pulp mill suddenly lays off remaining workers

All Neucel Specialty Cellulose employees working at the pulp mill were told to go home on Feb. 27.

Those few people still working at Port Alice’s long-dormant pulp mill have been dealt another blow.

Neucel Specialty Cellulose sent them home yesterday, allegedly with no written notice.

514 Union President Don Vye told the North Island Gazette that all the union employees still working at the North Island pulp mill — about 20 people tasked with maintaining the mill’s assets — received word of the layoffs verbally on Feb. 27.

“All I know is they were sent home yesterday afternoon,” said Vye, who added it was rather sudden because he was at the site in the morning talking to vice-president of human resources, Warren Beatty, “and he mentioned nothing about it.”

“There was a fella who showed up here from China and everyone was sent home,” Vye said.

Vye added he would have more details after he meets with the company later today.

RELATED: Workers called back to long-dormant Port Alice pulp mill

Neucel Specialty Cellulose makes up 70 per cent of the community’s tax base and is owned by the Canadian arm of a Chinese company called Fulida. The mill still hasn’t paid its taxes, which were due back in July of 2018, totalling around a million dollars.

The mill’s property is the same as any other property when it comes to unpaid taxes. If the taxes continue to go unpaid, then the current taxes become arrears the following year. If the arrears continue to go unpaid, then they become delinquent the next year. Properties with unpaid delinquent taxes are then sold at a tax sale on the last Monday of September.

RELATED: Pulp mill fails to pay taxes, Port Alice closes arena

Back in February 2015, Neucel Specialty Cellulose placed the mill into a “temporary” production curtailment following three consecutive years of unfavourable pulp prices, combined with the high cost of oil, energy energy consumption and operating chemicals, as well as an unfavourable low U.S. exchange rate.

The mill has remained in curtailment ever since.

The smallest of the North Island’s three tri-port communities, Port Alice has a population has a population of about 700 and an economy built around the mill, which, when operating, employed about 400 people.

Just Posted

Parksville Beach Festival Society launches campaign for outdoor stage

Public invited to event May 25 to help with kickoff

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

Crime Report: Oceanside RCMP receive 328 complaints in one-week span

Vandalism and theft of a wheelchair among listed incidents

Controversial cell tower proposal in Coombs clears another hurdle

Committee indicates Rogers satisfactorily completed requirements

Parksville advocate to discuss harm-reduction measures for addicts

Morris, along with a panel of professionals, will be at the PCC on May 21

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Campbell River police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

One year after heartbreaking B.C. search, wife reflects on late husband

First anniversary of Ben Kilmer’s disappearance, and a search that galvanized Vancouver Island

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Most Read