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

UPDATE: Fire crews suppress smouldering fire on Highway 19 north of Campbell River

Wildfire reached .25 hectares, according to BC Wildfire Service

Wheelchair accessibility setting Island’s Rathtrevor Beach park apart

Friends enjoy special annual camping trip at Parksville’s popular provincial park

Editorial: Time for action on national pharmacare plan

The report calls for a basic plan for essential medications by 2022, and comprehensive list by 2027

Island farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted near Parksville

Juan de Fuca Marine Trail re-opens after lengthy repairs

The trail has been closed since February

VIDEO: B.C. First Nation plans to launch legal challenge after Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan says he’ll continue to defend the B.C. coast

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Pair of B.C. cities crack Ashley Madison’s “Infidelity Hotlist”

Data from the website reveals Abbotsford and Kelowna hottest spots for cheaters

Life’s work of talented B.C. sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Risk of thunderstorms in Wednesday’s forecast

Plus a look ahead at the weekend forecast

TimberWest won’t log above Youbou this year in wake of landslide risk report

Forest company doesn’t rule out future logging, conducting its own study on viability of terrain

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

RCMP investigating suspicious fire at Nanaimo apartment building

Early morning fire ignited under balcony at building on Glen Eagle Crescent

Most Read