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Roddickton Mayor "shocked" after the biofuel company named Hawke's Bay as Primary



Sheila Fitzgerald worries that her community will die if a new UK biofuel project does not bring jobs in the region.

Mayor Roddickton says the company is building its plant in Hawke's Bay so Roddickton leaves an empty pellet plant and sawmill.

Fitzgerald stated that city people had always assumed that the company would use a plant that was built in 2011 but never opened.

"People are devastated, we are shocked," she said. "There's a feeling of betrayal, we all believed it would happen."

"Waiting to return to work"

The plant was built by Holson Forest Products, with at least $ 11 million funded by the provincial government. The device never opened.

Timberlands, a local affiliate of the Active Energy Group, previously said it considers the Holson plant a home on the North Peninsula.

Roddickton, on the opposite side of the northern peninsula of Hawke's Bay, is away from the carved path to St. Anthony, said the mayor. (Google Maps)

The company announced this week that it had entered into an agreement with the provincial government of 100,000 cubic meters of wood in the northern peninsula and started operations.

Without that, it would be equally advisable for the road to stop at Plum Point.– Sheila Fitzgerald

"We hoped they would come and reopen the door," Fitzgerald said. "People just waited when they returned to work because it was a living, this was the history of this city."

Conditions relating to the protection of local people

Forestry Minister Gerry Byrne said that previous talks with Holson left the city with a hot taste, but the government did not want to force the company to do anything that could scare the business.

"This is the decision made by the company itself," he said. "What we said, we will not interfere with your business decisions."

Gerry Byrne says the provincial government did not want to interfere with the business decisions of the new company after years of economic crisis in the northern peninsula. (Ted Dillon / CBC)

Byrne said that the government had given the conditions of a company incorporated into agreements on the wood industry that would benefit existing piers in the northern peninsula.

Timberlands will have to offer up to 25% of its total cubic meters of local sawmill, which means more mills for local mills.

Fitzgerald is afraid that none of the terms in the deal will be transferred to jobs on the eastern side of the northern peninsula, beyond the beaten track to St. Anthony.

Existing saws on the North Peninsula benefit from an agreement on Timberlands, says Byrne, because they first pick the wood that the company cut off. (CBC)

He understands that the government does not have more money to get into a sleeping plant to start production, but hopes to make stronger efforts to include Roddickton.

"Our main industry is forestry and without it it's as good as we stopped at Plum Point," she said.

"Ultimately, these communities in the northeast, these four small communities, will eventually die because we were dependent on this resource."

Read more of CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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