Neucel looking at restart

The Neucel Specialty Cellulose Mill in Port Alice is asking for a tax exemption while planning to restart production.

Neucel Specialty Cellulose has once again asked for a break on its $1.1 million taxes.

Neucel Specialty Cellulose’s Vice President of Human Resources, Warren Beatty spoke on behalf of his company at the Port Alice village council meeting on Wednesday, July 13.

The reason was to place two requests before council.

The first was for an exemption of property taxes for the Port Alice Golf Course and Cemetery for the 2017 taxation year forward. The second was for a permissive tax exemption of property taxes for the Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill.

This request was for the 2017 taxation year forward for a mutually-agreed upon term not to exceed 10 years.

“My first request is for tax exemption for the Port Alice Golf Course and the Cemetery. The golf course is run by a society and meets all the qualifications for an exemption and the cemetery is adjacent to the golf course.”

Beatty then moved on to the second part of his presentation. “As you know, last year Neucel requested tax relief from the village and that request was rejected,” Beatty said.

“Before I make a second request, I just want to remind everyone that when the mill is running, Neucel is the driving force of Port Alice and Neucel is very supportive of the community here.”

“We now find ourselves at a time when a plan to restart the mill is underway and we are looking to cut our costs as much as possible,” said Beatty, adding that Neucel “would like to get this process underway so that if we do get the okay to resume operations at the mill, this (tax exemptions) doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. The first six to eight months after starting up we won’t be running, just fixing things, so it’s going to be awhile before we are generating revenue which is why we are asking for a tax exemption.”

Councillor Marnie Chase asked if Neucel has “a potential start up date” confirmed.

“No,” said Beatty. “As you are all probably aware, we recently went through an in-depth assessment from former Neucel Chief Executive Officer Bob Taylor on what it will take to get the mill up and running, and we are hoping to get a date sooner rather than later,” he said.

Beatty thanked Council for their time and then left. Council passed a motion to have Village staff look over the financials involved before making a decision regarding the requests.

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