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Town to enlist facilitator on mill property plan

With the demolition of the former Abitibi paper mill imminent, Grand Falls-Windsor council will engage a third party facilitator to formally get the ball rolling on plans for the property.

The process for the demolition of the former Abitibi-Bowater mill in Grand Falls-Windsor is underway.

Council accepted a recommendation from its Committee Of The Whole at tonight’s meeting that will see senior staff work with a facilitator to, “develop an action plan to methodically achieve certain goals to ensure the property gets used to the most prudent and responsible manner in the future.”

The topic of land use at the former industrial site has been a hot topic in town since the provincial government named the contractor for the demolition just before Christmas.

Delsan-A.I.M. Environmental Services (Delsan-A.I.M.) was named the successful bidder for the project, which is projected to take 18 months.

The company is set to begin detailed work planning this month.

Delsan-A.I.M. will salvage and re-sell equipment and materials. The provincial government will receive $500,000 and a percentage of any profits realized by the company, which will be confirmed in the final contract details. 

Redeployment of the mill site was also noted in the Economic Development and Tourism Committee report tabled tonight.

Resident Don Pelley addressed the committee’s last meeting on his work with the provincial government on identifying Beothuk artifacts along the Exploits River.

He suggested that once the mill is dismantled, council should proceed with a tourism strategy tied to the site that incorporates a Beothuk component.

“We all agree its important to start the planning process now to give us ample time to hear a lot of input,” said Deputy Mayor Barry Manuel in addressing tonight’s meeting.

First and foremost should be in indication to government that the town wishes to acquire control of the property.

“As of right now, it’s still Crown land,” Manuel noted. “We should put in to the province our intentions that we want the land.”

Manuel added that the deliberations regarding a plan would include public consultations.

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