The president of the union representing timber harvesters and silviculture workers employed by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper thinks any money coming from the province should be spent on the company's infrastructure needs.
Lindy Vincent, president of Unifor Local 60N, was reacting to the imminent agreement that will see the provincial government give the paper company financial assistance to the tune of $110 million.
The province set aside $90 million in its budget last spring and, in the past couple of days, has confirmed that another $20 million will be included in the 2014-15 fiscal plan to be announced in the spring.
The government and Kruger Inc., the Montreal-based parent company that owns the Corner Brook mill, are in the process of signing off on the details of the loan. Government said it would make those details public when the deal is done, but has confirmed the Deer Lake Power plant will be used as collateral for the loan.
"That money should be spent on the infrastructure at the mill and at Deer Lake Power," said Vincent, noting the company doesn't need a power plant if the mill is shut and the mill's viability is dependent on producing its own hydroelectricity.
The paper company is also struggling to meet the unfunded liability of the company's pension plans, Vincent believes his pension is safe for now and the physical structures of the two plants are more in need of investment at this point in time.
He also agrees that helping the mill lower its operational costs will mean good things for the forest industry as a whole.
"If that mill shuts down, the whole forest industry would shut down," he said. "What else would all the sawmills do with all the pulpwood they cut if they can't sell it to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper?"
Vincent said there is a sense of relief throughout the industry for the time being.
"I think there is a little more stability now," he said. "That's all most us ever want in our jobs."