Since the Wisconsin-based company LaPointe Partners abruptly shut down the pulp mill that was the village’s major employer last October, out-of-work parents are finding no choice but to leave.
“Ashley mentioned that she wanted to move away because all of her friends are moving,” said Ashley’s mom, Joanie Diebel. “Her friends are the centre of her world; you know how kids are.”
But even as Port Alice’s population dips to about 500 from 1,200 a year ago, the remaining villagers find reason for optimism: a deal on the horizon to buy and restart the mill may lure people back.
Nearly the entire town showed up for a meeting on Wednesday night in the community centre to hear the details of a proposed offer by Richard Bassett of Charlestown Investments to invest $80-million to modernize the mill, which has been the economic engine of the village since it started operating in 1918.
While significant conditions must be met before the deal is closed, the people of Port Alice, who have gambled their livelihoods on keeping the mill, say it may be just in time. Continue reading “The town’s swimming pool has shut down and its curling rink won’t start up this fall because without the $1”