Following the one-week shutdown of the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Mill earlier this month, two of the province's political leaders say they are excited for the future of the mill after meeting with staff and management.
"Some of the ideas they have are very creative and innovative," NDP leader Alison Coffin said Friday.
"They are responding to international markets and changing product lines, so I'm very impressed by that … I think there's a real future here."
Coffin said she spoke with management of the mill, which employs 285 people, about ideas such as the expansion of the port and a new partnership with the new Forestry Research Hub.
The production shut down at the beginning of August also served as downtime to help restore balance and reduce inventory in what have been unfavourable newsprint market conditions.
Coffin said although markets have been troubling in recent times, she said the ideas put forward by staff and management will help the mill continue to be viable for the town in the future.
"There is room for newsprint, There's always going to be use of newsprint so I think that's a very smart thing to do, and it is providing a consistent workforce for folks," she said.
"But I think the new creative ideas that they have are going to expand their market, and make this a sustainable industry for a long time into the future. I do like those ideas, and I think that will improve the future of the mill."
Coffin said she understands the concern around the mill closing for several days, but says the seven day shut down is nothing compared to what other communities are facing.
"There are plantings across North America that are shutting down completely," she said. "So the fact that everything that's happened in the world, the shut down of China and India and some of the major markets, if it only caused a week shut down here? That's actually not so bad.
Coffin said things like a better communication between the mill and residents could be key in helping the community when the mill is forced to close for maintenance, helping to put more of the community on the same page.
Premier-Designate Andrew Furey also met with mill management Friday as part of his quick tour through the city. Before the meeting, he said he was looking forward to working with the mill as Premier.
"There's changing markets, changing forces, that they've experienced," he said. "And I look forward to seeing how we can unlock value from the province to help them ensure that they stay here and work here."