L'usine de pâte dormante de Port Alice a officiellement fait l'objet d'une procédure de mise en faillite pour impôt impayé et autres dettes impayées.
The plant is owned by Neucel Specialty Cellulose, which in turn is owned by Fulida Holdings, a large private Chinese textile company. Neucel owes a total of $ 272 million to various creditors, most of which is $ 235 million to Fulida Holdings. Of the remaining $ 37 million, Neucel owes $ 1.8 million to Port Alice – which could be closer to $ 2.2 million when this year’s taxes are charged – $ 21 million to the local Unifor’s 514, $ 13 million to the province, $ 50,377 in unpaid wages and $ 388,277 in unpaid British Columbia. Electricity bills.
Price Waterhouse Cooper is the designated receiver, as determined by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on April 14. PWC issued a request for proposals on May 5 for the closure and security of the plant to secure the premises during the bankruptcy proceedings.
The unpaid tax bills in Port Alice had a significant impact on the village. Neucel represented 70% of the city’s tax base. Property taxes could be seriously affected when the factory property is reassessed next year. The village also had to make the difficult decision to keep the Doug Bondue Arena closed for two seasons due to the loss of tax revenue.
Ultimately, receiving payment of the taxes due is the goal, but it’s early in the receivership process, so it’s impossible to say if it’s a probability, said the mayor of Port Alice, Kevin Cameron. And in the long term, the goal is to have a new tenant on the pulp mill site.
“It probably won’t come back to the days of pulp mills with more than 400 employees, but if we can get something with 25 jobs, that counts for Port Alice. Even two jobs are important right now, “said Cameron.
The factory was a major employer in the city with more than 400 employees, and workers faced not only unpaid wages and severance pay, but also the lack of available work since the factory was shut down. towards the end of 2015. Many residents have since left the village.
” He [Neucel] was the economic engine of Port Alice, “said Cameron. “And then boom, they closed and people were hanging around waiting to return to work for about two years. In the end, they realized that they should go elsewhere. “
The factory was closed for just over five years when Neucel sacked hundreds of workers, supposedly for a renovation that never started. Last year, in February, the remaining workers were brutally asked to leave in the middle of the day by a Fulida member who randomly showed up in the village.
The shutter factory left a dangerous chemical mess behind which the province had to hire contractors.
Last year, Arterran Renewables explored the idea of renting the Neucel plant, but never took possession of it. Due to existing debts and environmental risks, Arterran has declined. Arterran director of business development David Tiessen said the company is still interested in the site, but is currently considering a site in Campbell River.
“Port Alice is no stranger to hardship,” added Cameron. “We lost our main tax base, then we lost our bank – they had to close because nothing was going on. Then we had the eight-month forest strike and now we have a pandemic of viruses. And yet, there is no place I prefer to live than Port Alice. It’s just a great community. “