QUEEN’S PARK – A short time ago, I was in Atikokan at the Legion hall for a great announcement in the community. Atikokan Renewable Fuels received the province’s first new wood supply, 179,000 cubic metres, which is in addition to an already existing 100,000 cubic metres per year. I also announced $1 million from the northern Ontario heritage fund for a plant conversion and another $250,000 for a heating system conversion.
When we were first elected, the old Proboard mill was closed. Our government injected $6.5 million, creating FibraTech and employment for roughly 130 men and women. This announcement will once again breathe life into this facility. The wood allocation will create 95 jobs in the plant and the woodlands operation combined.
Atikokan Renewable Fuels will produce wood pellets to create electricity for both domestic and international customers. As many of you already know, I was able to announce the conversion of the Atikokan generating station to biomass. There will be a competitive tender to supply the generating station with a fuel source. With Atikokan Renewable Fuels being so close, they will be well positioned to bid competitively to be the supplier to the station, and that could create additional long-term employment in Atikokan and northwestern Ontario.
With these recent announcements, and all of the mining activity in the area, the job situation is much brighter than it was a couple of years ago, and the community is looking more confidently towards the future.
Bill Mauro MPP
Thunder Bay Atikokan