Demolition of Biomass Boiler Upsets Fort Frances Councilor
A Fort Frances councilor says the demolition of a biomass boiler at the former Resolute mill shows why more needs to be done to protect government investments.
According to Douglas Judson, the Town of Fort Frances had issued a demolition permit for the steam-powered 54 megawatt co-generation facility that Resolute completed in 2009, whereas the Ontario government contributed almost $23 million to the $90 million project.
“The biomass facility represents one of the single largest industrial investments in the Rainy River District, and it was made possible through taxpayer money. Less than 12 years later it is being sold for scrap,” Judson said in a statement.
After Resolute announced the mill’s closure in 2014, the province sent a letter to the company stating that it had violated a condition of the grant that required the mill to operate. The government initially said the money had to be repaid.
However, three years later, the parties signed a Settlement and Release Agreement in which Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government acknowledged Resolute’s efforts to find a buyer for the mill, the millions of dollars it had spent on maintenance, and the investments it had made in it’s mills in Thunder Bay, Atikokan and Ignace.
In 2019, Riversedge Developments purchased the mill assets, and began a staged demolition in 2020.
“Where the availability of public forest resources is at stake…policies should ensure that economic handout are tied to licensing measures and concessions to ensure the long-term public benefit of these public resource and financial commitments.” Judson added.