Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha said today that Premier Wynne and the Liberal government are allowing the Olav Haavaldsrud Timber mill and Becker Cogeneration plant to stay closed, and urged the Premier not to forsake the northern community of Hornepayne.
“I raised the dire situation in Hornepayne with this Liberal government for over six months. I urged the Premier to intervene in order to take action to save the mill and the plant whose jobs support hundreds of families,” Mantha said.
“Despite knowing that the community of Hornepayne depends on the mill and the plant, this Liberal government has refused to take action while Premier Wynne ignores this crisis. Now the mill and the plant will be kept closed, keeping families out of work and devastating the community.”
Mantha met with community leaders and company representatives from Olav Haavaldsrud Timber and Becker Cogeneration on Wednesday. He learned that the Wynne government did not present a plan to keep the operation open at last Friday’s meeting with company officials. The company has stated that its financial viability depends on renegotiating its Power Purchase Agreement with the government due to lost power production from Hydro One interruptions.
“It is unbelievable that this Liberal government has kept families in Hornepayne desperately waiting over five months only to be told it has nothing for them. This government is also allowing the Hornepayne biomass cogeneration plant, a cornerstone of their much touted green energy plan, to fall by the wayside after just two years,” Mantha said.
“I again urge Premier Wynne and her ministers to intervene and to take decisive action today to keep the mill and plant open, to allow hundreds of families to keep their livelihoods and to save the community of Hornepayne from economic collapse. The future of this northern community is in Premier Wynne’s hands. I urge the Premier to take action immediately.”
The Hornepayne mill and plant supports 296 direct and indirect full time jobs, or 40 per cent of Hornepayne’s workforce. Over $72 million has been invested in the operation, including nearly $30 million for the biomass cogeneration plant as part of the Liberal government’s green energy plan.
[author ]Mike Mantha, MPP[/author]