Vancouver Island pulp and paper mill to restart after $18.8 million government investment

Employees at the Crofton mill, about 74 km northwest of Victoria, will be producing utensils and paper packaging to cut down on the need for single use plastics. (Wikipedia - image credit)
Employees at the Crofton mill, about 74 km northwest of Victoria, will be producing utensils and paper packaging to cut down on the need for single use plastics. (Wikipedia - image credit)

A Vancouver Island pulp and paper mill will reopen thanks to an $18.8 million boost from the provincial and federal governments.

The mill in Crofton, about 74 km northwest of Victoria, will start operating its paper line and bring back more than 100 jobs, the provincial government said Friday, making it the third such announcement this week to help B.C.'s embattled forestry industry.

The B.C. government will provide $4.5 million and the federal government $14.3 million to help the Paper Excellence mill retool to make new pulp products that will reduce the need for single-use plastics.

Premier David Eby said the funding for the mill supports a clean, innovative economy.

"The Crofton mill is going to be producing water resistant paper packaging and cutlery that's going to reduce those single use plastic items made out of petroleum," Eby explained.

Eby said the company brought forward the proposal.

The province said the money will allow the mill on Vancouver Island to re-open after it ceased operations last year.

Talks underway 

Last October, the company Paper Excellence announced it would be curtailing operations at the Crofton mill putting 150 people out of work as a result.

Paper Excellence said the money will allow it to restart the paper machine and improve the efficiency of the mill.

The company said it's working with unions now on details of the plan to restart this month.

Travis Gregson, Unifor local 1132 president, said he was grateful for the chance to restore jobs in the community.

"Perhaps other Unifor and PPC mills will get this same opportunity in a time when it's hard the forest industry is strugglling," Gregson said.

Earlier this week, the province announced $50 million to help the forestry industry move fire-damaged wood in remote locations to pulp mills as well as a $90 million fund targeting rural communities impacted by the forestry downturn.