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

Sonia Furstenau column: Forestry workers, communities deserve long-term solutions

We know with the right policies and oversight, forestry can be a truly renewable industry.

Drivesmart column: What I’ve learned from a year of driver monitoring

Over all, I’m pleased that I have taken the time to use the app.

Quamichan Lake area a hot spot for bear sightings

WildSafeBC continues education programs for Valley residents

Robert Barron column: School bus rules should be respected

Motorists must NEVER pass a school bus with its stop lights flashing.

‘Nutcracker’ a hit with Cowichan audiences

A big crowd was entranced Saturday, Dec. 7 when the Royal City… Continue reading

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Most Read