THUNDER BAY -- An ad inviting people to apply for jobs as sawmill lead hands, debarker operators, lumber graders, general labourers and a wide range of other positions has Greenstone Mayor Renald Beaulieu feeling that better times are ahead for his municipality.
Beaulieu says Nakina Lumber Inc., owned by Thunder Bay-based Buchanan Forest Products, has already been started up a few times to test the machinery, and the company has been looking for workers.
The sawmill shut down seven years ago, so Beaulieu said its imminent reopening "is great news" for Greenstone. "We're talking, to start, probably between 80 and 100 jobs, I'm sure. It's also going to create a lot of activity in the logging industry."
Beaulieu said the forestry sector in the Greenstone area is already "on a roll," thanks to the sawmill in Longlac and Aditya Birla's pulp mill in Terrace Bay.
He said he expects to get together with Buchanan representatives this week to discuss the timing of the reopening of the Nakina operation and other details.
The Greenstone mayor said he's also optimistic about expansion in the mining sector.
"Once the environmental assessment's been done" for Greenstone Gold's Hardrock project on the outskirts of Geraldton, Beaulieu said, he hopes that development will move forward "in a short while."
The mine requires approval from both the federal and Ontario environmental assessment agencies and must satisfy other permitting requirements as well.
"It's good news we see this happening in our area. We do need the jobs," the mayor said. "We can tell, though, there's already more activity in our communities, so it's very interesting."
Beaulieu noted that restarting the sawmill in Nakina could result in the reopening of a local restaurant, and will support the ongoing operation of other businesses there.
"That's exciting for all of us," he concluded.