Hearst Mayor, Roger Sigouin, Asks Premier Ford to Keep People Working in his Town and Support Ontario’s Forest Sector October 15, 2020

For immediate release

October 15, 2020 – Hearst, Ontario: In April, the leadership of Premier Ford and Ministers Rickford and Yakabuski helped secure a 6-month extension for the Calstock Power Plant.  With that extension coming to an end in December, the Town of Hearst is concerned.

Mayor Sigouin commented, “I want to thank Premier Ford for his support of the August 24, 2020 Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy.  For a town like Hearst, where the forest sector is the heart and soul, we welcome the province’s commitment to growing the forestry sector. With this in mind, I am calling on the Premier for his immediate help.”

The Town of Hearst fully supports Premier Ford and his team’s aspirations to grow Ontario’s forest sector, but we are worried that the strategy’s objectives may be challenged if we don’t find a biomass solution.

The Mayor continued by noting, “In 60 days, our community will lose a significant employer. Losing twenty-five jobs will be devastating, and the ripple effect of the closure of Atlantic Power’s plant will be even worse.”

Over the past four months, we have worked constructively with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and other stakeholders to find a viable alternative that would consume the residual wood fibre. An alternative that would save jobs and secure a future for the integrated forest sector in our town. To date, despite all our proactive efforts, it is our understanding that there are no viable alternatives that could be running by January 2021.

The Mayor added, “In late September, recognizing that the issue of Biomass PPAs was a Northern Ontario issue, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) wrote to Premier Ford asking for his help. FONOM asked the Premier for more time and requested the expiration of the current PPA of Calstock Power Plant be delayed until December 2021”.

“I am confident that working together in 2021, Premier Ford and the people of Northern Ontario can develop a win-win solution that keeps people working and supports our integrated forest sector.  But we are running out of time and that is why I am calling upon the Premier today for his help”, concluded Mayor Sigouin.

Please direct all external inquiries to Mayor Roger Sigouin:

Cell:  705-372-8399

E-mail:  rsigouin@hearst.ca