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EDITORIAL: Many losers, some winners

There were a couple of developments in the newsprint industry last week, neither of which was positive. In the one closest to home, a deal was struck to have the mill buildings in Grand Falls-Windsor demolished.

The company hired will do the remediation work at no charge to the government and will get to keep anything of value they can recover.

The mill has been sitting idle for years, but there must have still been some people in the central Newfoundland town who prayed some other owner or use could have been found. However, it wasn’t to be.

The demolition will bring to an end more than a 100-year connection with the newsprint industry in that community. It won’t avoid the wrecking ball.

The second story is fresher and no less disturbing.

A few days before Christmas Day, Resolute Forest Products announced it is shutting the newsprint mill in Iroquois Falls, Ont., putting about 200 people on the unemployment lines.

In a former iteration and name, Resolute was the same company which pulled the plug on the Grand Falls-Windsor mill.

The good people of Iroquois Falls can take some solace in the fact that Grand Falls-Windsor, and Stephenville before it, have managed to adapt to the loss of their mills and are surviving.

If there is any good from these gloomy developments, it may land in Corner Brook. The more mills elsewhere stop sending newsprint to a glutted market makes the outlook for survival of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper more positive.

It’s a sad way to look at the once-thriving industry but it’s come down to survival of the fittest, or more likely leanest.

Luckily, contributions from workers and owners Kruger Inc., have kept the machines turning.

Who knows what 2015 will bring?

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