NORTH ISLAND GAZETTE FILE PHOTO The Doug Bondue Arena in Port Alice won’t be opening for the second year in a row.

Tax-deliquent Neucel pulp mill means Port Alice arena won’t open this year

The village has not yet been formally approached with a request for Oscar Hickes in 2020.

For the second year in a row, the Doug Bondue Arena won’t be opening.

Port Alice Mayor Kevin Cameron stated that due to the Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill not paying its taxes, the village doesn’t have enough capital to open the rink for the 2019-2020 hockey season.

“We reduced expenditures by quite a bit this year due to Neucel not paying its taxes, and I don’t think it’s right to burden the community with that kind of extra tax dollars,” said Cameron, when asked to comment on the closure.

Port Alice’s Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Financial Officer Bonnie Danyk noted it would cost “Approximately $200,000” to open the rink for a regular season of hockey and curling, and they would need “a minimum of two” staff to operate the arena.

As for whether Port Alice’s annual Oscar Hickes hockey tournament will be running for the 41st year in a row, Danyk noted the village has not yet been “formally approached with a request for Oscar Hickes in 2020” and the cost to run the rink for the Oscar Hickes weekend last year was around $12,000.

Cameron added while he thinks it’s unfortunate that the rink won’t be opening, there is a positive aspect to the closure. “At least our youth are able to go over to Port Hardy and Port McNeill and play against other kids, where they get to build friendships that will last them a lifetime.”

Neucel Specialty Cellulose laid off its last remaining workers back in February.

The pulp mill made up 70 per cent of the community’s tax base and is owned by the Canadian arm of a Chinese company called Fulida. The mill still hasn’t paid its taxes, which were due back in July of 2018, totalling around a million dollars.

Back in February of 2015, Neucel went into a production curtailment following three consecutive years of unfavourable pulp prices, combined with the high cost of oil, energy energy consumption and operating chemicals, as well as an unfavourable low US/CAN$ exchange rate.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Falling oak tree causes minor damage to Langford home

Tree damages garden and gutters of home on Lindsay Place

Saanich police looking to identify suspect in Brydon Park assault

Victim confronted suspect about the way he was treating his dog

Residents to start moving into first of 100 new affordable homes in Langford

Construction underway on second phase of affordable Indigenous housing project in Langford

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read