NORTH ISLAND GAZETTE FILE PHOTO The Doug Bondue Arena in Port Alice won’t be opening for the second year in a row.

Tax-deliquent Neucel pulp mill means Port Alice arena won’t open this year

The village has not yet been formally approached with a request for Oscar Hickes in 2020.

For the second year in a row, the Doug Bondue Arena won’t be opening.

Port Alice Mayor Kevin Cameron stated that due to the Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill not paying its taxes, the village doesn’t have enough capital to open the rink for the 2019-2020 hockey season.

“We reduced expenditures by quite a bit this year due to Neucel not paying its taxes, and I don’t think it’s right to burden the community with that kind of extra tax dollars,” said Cameron, when asked to comment on the closure.

Port Alice’s Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Financial Officer Bonnie Danyk noted it would cost “Approximately $200,000” to open the rink for a regular season of hockey and curling, and they would need “a minimum of two” staff to operate the arena.

As for whether Port Alice’s annual Oscar Hickes hockey tournament will be running for the 41st year in a row, Danyk noted the village has not yet been “formally approached with a request for Oscar Hickes in 2020” and the cost to run the rink for the Oscar Hickes weekend last year was around $12,000.

Cameron added while he thinks it’s unfortunate that the rink won’t be opening, there is a positive aspect to the closure. “At least our youth are able to go over to Port Hardy and Port McNeill and play against other kids, where they get to build friendships that will last them a lifetime.”

Neucel Specialty Cellulose laid off its last remaining workers back in February.

The pulp mill made up 70 per cent of the community’s tax base and is owned by the Canadian arm of a Chinese company called Fulida. The mill still hasn’t paid its taxes, which were due back in July of 2018, totalling around a million dollars.

Back in February of 2015, Neucel went into a production curtailment following three consecutive years of unfavourable pulp prices, combined with the high cost of oil, energy energy consumption and operating chemicals, as well as an unfavourable low US/CAN$ exchange rate.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Bamfield Road safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

City of Port Alberni offers support after fatal bus crash

Two University of Victoria students killed after crash en route to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

Participants double at Parkinson’s Superwalk in Port Alberni

Second annual event also saw an increase in funds raised

Alberni School District considers three name changes

Neill Elementary, Ucluelet Secondary and school district identified for new names

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read