castlegar news, july 11, 2013

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July 11, 2013 edition of the Castlegar News


  • Thursday, July 11 2013 Vol.10 Issue 28

    CASTLEGAR NEWSBreaking news at

    Your Horoscope For the Week with Michael OConnor inside the West Kootenay Advertiser

    Politicians do verbal joust-ing over wood chip issue

    See Page A3

    On Tuesday, July 9 workers at Zellst-o Celgar pulp mill learned approximate-ly 85 employees will be let go over the next ve years, with the majority of employ-ees to be a ected over the next 12 months.

    Mercer Interna-tional Inc. says the workforce reduction comes a er conduct-ing a comprehensive assessment, saying in a press release the reduction is intended to improve its com-petitiveness with other pulp producers.

    e planned re-duction will a ect both hourly and sal-aried employees.

    It was extremely disappointing to our executive and our membership to hear the companys posi-tion on the planned job losses that will oc-cur, said Mike Conci, president of the Pulp, Paper and Wood-workers of Canada, Local 1 on Wednes-day. is a ects our union brothers and sisters and manage-ment sta employees that work at Celgar. Many peoples lives in our communities have been a ected in

    a very negative way. We will need to fo-cus on those a ected and o er any assis-tance we can during these di cult times.

    Kevin Anderson, managing director of operations and tech-nical at Celgar spoke with the Castlegar News the day the job cuts were announced.

    Its an unfortu-nate reality for some people here, said An-derson. ough we are doing our best to minimize the impact to employees. One of the key things is that were looking to o er,

    as much as possible, voluntary alternatives for senior employees to depart and lessen the impact to some of our junior employees.

    ere are some unknowns, in par-ticular with those covered under the collective agreement. We know the number of positions but its di cult to know the employees that are going to go because there is quite a pro-cess in the collective agreement around seniority that we need to work though.

    Some senior em-

    ployees a ected by the restructuring will be o ered early re-tirement incentives.

    Anderson added the company is do-ing its best to be as fair and generous with those incen-tives as possible.

    He said once its better known who will take the volun-tary options it will be easier to ascertain who will be leav-ing involuntarily.

    It is essential for the long term viabil-ity and sustainability of the Celgar mill that it maintains a com-

    petitive cost structure compared to other producers in the face of ever increasing costs and other chal-lenges, said Mercers President and Chief Executive O cer, Jimmy Lee in a release.

    Celgar plans to continue to operate with an annual capac-ity of approximately 520,000 air-dried metric tons of market northern bleached so wood kra pulp.

    It is also expected that approximately 370 employees will re-main at the mill when the cuts are complet-

    ed at the end of 2017.Since purchas-

    ing the mill in 2005, Mercer has allo-cated approximately $140 million in capi-tal improvements to the Celgar mill.

    Information pro-vided by Celgar shows about $52 million was pumped into the lo-cal economy in wages and bene ts in 2012.

    One of the largest employers in the West Kootenay region, Celgar has been pro-viding high-paying jobs for many peo-ple in Castlegar for more than 50 years.

    Zellsto Celgar announces layo sMARVIN BEATTYCastlegar News Reporter

    New stopper for SelkirkSaintsSee Page A14

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    We know the number of positions but its dif cult to know the employees that are going to go because there is quite a process in the collective agreement around seniority that we need to work though, Kevin Anderson, managing director of operations.

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  • A2 Thursday, July 11, 2013 Castlegar News


    Two of three items on the agenda at a Special Meeting of the Council of the City of Castlegar on Wednes-day, July 3 involved big money.

    The first item was the approval of the 2013 to 2015 pav-ing program. Selkirk Paving was awarded the contract worth a three-year total of $992,493.50 plus GST. Only two bids were received, the other coming from Power Paving. Their bid of $1,186,745.50 was considerably more than the budgeted $976,000.

    Selkirk paving has held the citys paving contract for the past six years.

    A list of roads to be paved will be forth-coming from city staff and posted to the citys website.

    The other item, drawing much more comment from coun-cillors, was the Mil-lennium Ponds Proj-ect at Twin Rivers Park.

    Marwest Indus-tries was awarded a contract for the construction of the three ponds in the amount of $1,084,922 plus GST. This con-tract added another $425,000 to the 2013 budget and the com-munitys Five Year Plan, all of it coming from internal reserve fund borrowing.

    Coun. Kevin Cher-noff said the Marwest tender appeared most beneficial to the com-munity after careful evaluation of con-tracts. He also sug-gested the city would

    work with Marwest to possibly bring the project in at a lower final cost.

    Coun. Sue He-aton-Sherstobitof f questioned the extra spending and raised questions concerning flooding of the lower pond during the high water season.

    The price just keeps going up and up for ponds that could be flooded, said He-aton-Sherstobitoff. One in 10 years or one in 20 years or even more so, at $1.6 million dollars; Im pretty sure the tax-payers would want to know why $1.6 mil-lion and its not use-able all the time.

    Chris Barlow, di-rector of public works and transportation, said the flooding was evaluated and was a decision point on the project going for-ward.

    It is a one-off proj-ect, it is in an envi-ronmentally sensitive area and it is a high profile project for the city, said Barlow. Theres a lot of engi-neering that has gone into it and a lot of ap-provals have gone into it and some of the cost increases that have gone into it have been things like archaeo-logical assessments, environmental moni-toring as well as some of the construction costs that were higher than anticipated than when the bids came in.

    As weve figured out more and more of what is required on this project, the bud-get has come along with it.

    Coun. Chernoff said the ponds proj-

    ect was one brought forward by the com-munity and was the vision for that area.

    Its kind of a key-stone for anything else that happens in that park, said Cher-noff. Coun. Heaton-Sherstobitoff said the public might re-think the spending in light of the flooding and spending increases.

    Coun. Deb McIn-tosh said she was in favour of the proj-ect but asked where the cap on spending would be.

    What you have

    in that total number, is the number that we see as worst case. There is hope that we would be able to bring the project in under that, responded CAO John Malcolm.

    Both spending measures were ap-proved.

    The item that didnt involve significant spending was the ap-pointment of Carolyn Rempel as the new Chief Election Officer for the 2013 by-elec-tion, coming about due to the retirement of Coun. Russ Hearne.

    John Malcolm and Nicole Brown were also appointed Depu-ty Chief Election Of-ficers.

    The Chief Electoral Officer will receive remuneration of $800 and the Deputy Chief Election Officers will receive $550.

    The by-election is set for Saturday, Sep-tember 14.

    The next regular council meeting is slated to be held Mon-day, July 15 in the Community Forum at #101 - 445 13th Av-enue.

    City gives cash tap a clockwise crankmarvin beattyCastlegar News Reporter

    Twin Rivers Park in Castlegar on March 9, 2013. The area seen here is due for a major overhaul with the construction of three ponds, now valued at more than a million dollars. The project was one of three items discussed at a Special Meeting of City of Castlegar Council Wednes-day, July 3. Marvin Beatty

    Carolyn Rempel, Chief Election Offi-cer for the upcoming by-election in Castle-gar, has laid out the timelines for candi-dates wishing to come forward for city coun-cil.

    The by-election was called due to the resig-nation of Russ Hearne and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 14.

    Starting on Thurs-day, July 11, the first

    ads will come out in the paper for the no-tice of the nomination period, said Rem-pel on Friday, July 5. Thats when people can start coming in to City Hall and picking up the nomination papers. The wind