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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Five Vancouver Island First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

City of Port Alberni to move forward with ‘Quay to Quay’ pathway

Port Alberni city council has proposed connecting Victoria Quay to Harbour Quay

BC Hydro urges caution over planned flow increases on Ash River

River flow increases will assist fish migration, but could pose safety risk to humans

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Indigenous regalia stolen from car in Port Alberni

RCMP are asking for information on three ceremonial items

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

Most Read