Anna Thistle, Opposition Liberal MHA for the District of Grand Falls -
Buchans, says residents of Grand Falls - Windsor are very concerned about
the commitment of government to the future of the Number 7 paper machine at
the paper mill in the town.
"The preference of the company when
negotiating to save Stephenville hinged upon the fact that the company
wanted to operate only one machine in Grand Falls - Windsor," said Thistle.
"Nowhere in the details already released of the Stephenville agreement does
it state that government financial assistance is linked to the two location,
three machine operation. This would have been an ideal opportunity to settle
the uncertainty facing both communities at the same time.
"Minister Byrne had previously stated that government was only committed
to working with the company if they maintained the current production
configuration in both Grand Falls - Windsor and Stephenville. With the
details of the deal proposed this week not yet fully known, the people in
this community and the workers who represent all of central Newfoundland now
fear that government sold out the community in order to save the
"It is now time for government to step up and guarantee that Abitibi must
live up to the provisions contained in Bill 27 to maintain a two machine
operation in Grand Falls - Windsor. There are approximately 900 families in
47 central Newfoundland communities that directly depend on the logging and
mill operations in Grand Falls - Windsor, not to mention the indirect
employment and economic impacts.
"Government must show the same commitment to ensure the continued
operation of two machines in our community, as it has with the precedent
setting deal given in Stephenville this week. An equal or greater number of
jobs are on the line in Grand Falls - Windsor and people are very concerned
with the fact that government has not said anything about the future of the
Number 7 machine.
"It is time for Premier Williams and Minister Byrne to come to Grand
Falls - Windsor to provide assurances to the residents of our communities
and to release the details of what action government has been taking to
secure the future of the two machine operation. The people want to know what
was offered to Abitibi to ensure the long-term viability of the Stephenville
mill and a commitment that the deal proposed for Stephenville will not
affect the ongoing negotiations to save Number 7. Grand Falls - Windsor has
not been an equal partner in these negotiations and it is time for
government to share information and ease the worries of the residents in the