Saving Wapawekka Lumber Wasn’t Feasible: Boyd

Wednesday, November 04, 2009 at 12:40



Saskatchewan’s NDP Opposition is coming out swinging against the Brad Wall government over the recent sell-off of machinery from the Wapawekka Lumber mill.


It was recently learned an Edmonton-based company has purchased all of the equipment at the now-defunct mill with the intention of transferring it back to Alberta.


Cumberland MLA Doyle Vermette says the mill should never have closed.


He asserts Wapawekka would still be open today if the Saskatchewan Party hadn’t ripped up a deal, authored by the previous NDP government, aimed at keeping both Wapawekka and the Prince Albert pulp mill open.


Vermette says he believes the mill would have had a fighting chance, even with the downturn in the forest industry.


“At least there would have been a chance to work and some support the industry would have had from that deal, and they would have had a chance to really look at it and make sure, if possible and feasible, to continue to operate it or to at least not sell everything off,” he says.


However, Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd disagrees.


Boyd says the NDP would have poured $100-million of taxpayers’ money into a losing situation.


“This is a very challenged industry right now, and we would have just seen another $100-million disappear from the taxpayers of Saskatchewan, had the deal proceeded,” he says.


Boyd adds that his government is moving ahead with other ventures in the forest industry, including the restructuring of the Prince Albert Forest Management Agreement, which will involve large and small forestry companies, independents, First Nations and Metis groups.


He also says the mill closed under the rule of the NDP, not the Saskatchewan Party.