Domtar's Port Edwards mill closes its doors in 2 days
by Colby Robertson
PORT EDWARDS (WAOW) -- The village of Port Edwards will lose 500 jobs when the paper mill shuts down for good. Even though there's been 6 months to prepare, it's still having a big impact on the community.
"I think there was initially a considerable amount of shock that the mill had been operating on that site for nearly 150 years," says Patrick Arendt, a village trustee.
But even though the mill is days away from closing, community leaders are confident this facility will be used again because of it's unique location and features.
"It's got rail, there's a river so you have cooling water, there are turbines, there's some electrical generation, 3-phased power, wearhousing, proximity to the highway, so we see that as a benefit and we anticipate that fairly soon we'll have some use of that property," says Joe Terry, the village administrator.
While they're not sure what buisnesses will take over the facilities, they're just happy it's not being torn down.
"Many of the mills in Canada were torn down. Here we think that this particular site and most of these facilities will have an alternative use," says Arendt.
In the meantime, the employees and community are dealing with the economic impact of this closing.
"Many of the emoployees have started to cut back on their spending habits and begun to reserve cash and concerned what the future holds for them and their ability to exercise more options. That has a significant impact and is rippling through the local economy here," says Arendt.
But despite that, community leaders and residents are staying optimistic that Port Edwards will get through these hard times.
"Hopefully, they'll bring in a company to this place and give the people who lost their jobs the opportunity to first get this job and keep our families together and keep this community tight knit like it's always been," says Javir Ortiz, a Port Edwards resident.