Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.

Elk Falls, PRD indefinite closure becomes permanent

Catalyst announces permanent closure of Elk Falls mill
7/6/2010 5:50 PM
RICHMOND, BC, Jul 6, 2010

Catalyst Paper (TSX:CTL) announced today that it is permanently closing its Elk Falls paper mill near Campbell River, British Columbia in September. This facility has been indefinitely curtailed since February 2009.

“Today’s news is a disappointing outcome for mill employees and families, for the community, and for our business,” said Catalyst President and CEO Kevin J. Clarke. “The steep decline in commodity paper markets, coupled with uncompetitive labour and tax costs were contributing factors that could not be overcome.”

“Adaptation has always been the key to survival,” Clarke noted, “and the uncertainty regarding the future of this mill was detrimental to all our operations and had to come to an end. With this difficult decision behind us, we can now focus our sales and marketing strategies and production planning around mills that still have the potential to operate competitively which is a better basis to future-focus our business overall.”

In a related decision, Catalyst also announced the permanent closure of its paper recycling operation in Coquitlam, British Columbia. The facility, which supplied the company’s Crofton mill, was indefinitely idled in February due to reduced recycled pulp requirements, combined with higher cost and constrained availability of quality recovered paper. All employees were laid off at the time.

The associated asset impairment charge, including severance costs, is estimated at $302 million and will be reflected in the company’s second quarter results. Only a small number of employees will continue to be required to manage and decommission the facility resulting in approximately 100 Elk Falls employees being immediately impacted by the permanent closure.

The Elk Falls mill began operation in 1952, and at its peak, produced 784,000 tonnes of pulp, paper and kraft paper annually.

July 6, 2010 - Posted by | - Mill News


  1. It is with a heavy heart I heard the news. I would like to take a moment and say a Heart felt Thank you to our Union for all of their work and efforts through these troubled times! Also Thanks to all of you I have had the Pleasure to have worked with through the years! All the best! Good luck!

    Comment by Larry Lagos | July 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. RIP Elk Falls Mill. A very sad day indeed.

    It’s true that a person doesn’t always realize what they have until it’s gone. I spent nineteen years at Elk Falls and I’m truly appreciative of what it gave me, both in terms of an income and the skills that I received that are now going to help me carry on after Elk. The training was second to none and all the people I had a pleasure to work with were truly top shelf.

    I would also like to thank our local union executive for all the work they did in these hard times. I don’t believe for a minute there was anything else you could have done to save Elk Falls. I’m proud of the fact that Elk Falls locals 1123 and 630 didn’t carry on where other Catalyst locals left off and completely gut the collective agreement. In the end it wouldn’t have kept Elk Falls open. We can all hold our heads high and sleep well at night knowing we fought a good fight.

    Thanks again and I wish all my brothers and sisters from Elk the best of luck in their future endeavours.

    Comment by AJ Larsen | July 9, 2010 | Reply

  3. It was disappointing to hear that Elk falls will be closing permanently. Best wishes to all of you as you transition to new jobs and possibly to new places.

    Comment by Guy Marin | July 8, 2010 | Reply

  4. It is another sad day for the forest industry in B.C.I would like to thank everyone who I had the pleasure to work with at The Falls. It felt like home while I was there.
    Good luck in the future.

    Comment by Ray Earthy | July 8, 2010 | Reply

  5. Are those of us who got our severance in Feb eligible for a top up to closure severance, another 8 weeks?
    I’m sure there will be many who convince themselves that they do qualify for additional severance, but based on the fact that people voluntarily took the job elimination our legal counsel advises that it would be unlikely to convince an arbitrator to award more… Sorry… – Ian.

    Comment by Tom Newman | July 7, 2010 | Reply

  6. It was with sadness that I learned Elk was closing.It had been there for so many years. My father 41 years, myself 26 working there.Deciding to take my severance was possibly the hardest, most gut-wrenching decision I think I ever had to do. I moved on and found a new job in Grande Prairie Ab and moved there. It has been a positive experience for us. Learning a completely new job, meeting new people etc…it has not been dull to say the least. With the mill closing try to look to the future with an open mind, and don’t sell yourself short. You are all talented, smart workers who will be needed by other companies where ever that might take you. I wish you all the best and if you would like to find out more about the Grande Prairie area feel free to contact me. Best of luck to you all….Jim.

    Comment by jim winnig | July 7, 2010 | Reply

  7. I wish everyone from Elk the best as they move forward, working there with you all was a pleasure and something I looked forward too each and every day. Good Luck to ALL!

    Comment by Jason Christian | July 7, 2010 | Reply

  8. I remember the pride we had as the most efficient mill in the company. Only three years ago the business reviews raved of our 90% plus efforts. I believe that the decision to close Elk was made a long time ago on information that we will probably never know the details of. I do know that both Local 1123 and Local 630 did the best that could be done.
    I hope the best for all those I have worked with over the last 25 years.
    Brent Reid

    Comment by Brent Reid | July 6, 2010 | Reply

  9. Well, the day has finally come. Catalyst executive group has done, what in my opinion, has been their intention all along and that is to shut Elk down permanently.

    I had always hoped that there was some chance that the place would re-start at some point, but this looks to be out of the question now. It is a shame really. It’s a great mill with lots of potential left in it, if it was allowed to live.

    To all the great people I had the pleasure to work with during my 28 years there, I would like to say thank you. I have had the good fortune to forge great friendships and kinships due to my time at Elk falls. That includes, both hourly and staff. I, personally, have not worked or associated with a better class of workmates in the 37 years that I’ve worked in heavy industry. Your skill and professionalism are unmatched in any industry or workplace that I have been involved with. You should take a lot of pride and satisfaction in the work you accomplished there. It was a great run. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you don’t have the skills or the drive to work in an industry other than “THE PULP MILL”. I have worked with so many of you over the years and I know the truth about that bullshit. That goes for trades and operations.

    To my workmates who took on the responsibility of representing me as members of the Union Executive over the years, I owe a special vote of thanks. Most times it is a thankless and dirty job, and you guys (and girls) never seem to get the recognition you deserve. I know it must take it’s toll on you in every aspect. I will always be proud of the fact that of the 37 years I have worked in heavy industry, 36.999 of those years have been as a Unionized employee. Once again, thanks to our Union Executive.

    Good luck and all the best to all my Brothers and Sisters from Elk Falls Pulp and Paper, Timberwest and Co-Gen.

    As for all the Brothers and Sisters at our Sister mills; Powell River, Crofton and Port Alberni; all the best in your future dealings with Catalyst.

    Wayne Sheppard, CEP member and ELK FALLS Employee for 28 years.

    Comment by Wayne Sheppard | July 6, 2010 | Reply

  10. Wow. To those of you who Ive spoken with you know how I felt about the mill re-opening. Ive heard many comments over the last while, ” I cant do anything else” ” I dont know what to do” “what Can i do” I wish you well, and hope you will use this as an opportunity to follow a dream as i did. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives and there is life after Elk if you want it. As for Campbell River I feel with the mill down it will open up new markets in real estate, as the “pollution from the mill” wont scare off people wanting to move here. Any way there are a lot of good people I miss seeing on a daily basis so cheers to you all and all the best in what ever you decide to do. Do try and keep your cup half full.

    Comment by Brian Lees | July 6, 2010 | Reply

  11. A very sad day.
    When I was a kid growing up on the north island, the view of Elk Falls was the first sign of civilization when we traveled south. I remember looking at the mill wondering what it would be like to work there. Of course I never expected that one day I would actually work there. I only stayed 4 years, but I took away a lot of good memories, and met many fantastic people. Watching many of my friends leave the mill the last few years to take jobs elsewhere has been disheartening. I always hoped that Catalyst would find a way to keep part of the mill open. This must be a heartbreaking announcement for those of you who have hung on until the bitter end. I wish all of you the best of luck.

    Comment by Brian Delves | July 6, 2010 | Reply

  12. Well……what a day. Some of you may recall the sensation you had when you stepped off the tilt-a-whirl at the local fair. Your head spun for a moment and your steps were unsure but eventually you ran to the next ride. I will see you in the lineup……and maybe you can let me butt in behind you if you get there first.

    It has been a lifetime and a pleasure with all of the people at Elk Falls. Thank you for everything.

    Brad Briscoe #0996(ret.)

    Comment by Former Faithful Employee #0996 | July 6, 2010 | Reply

  13. Best of luck to all my brothers and sisters from Elk falls!

    Comment by Craig Stolle | July 6, 2010 | Reply

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