This question may be stunned, but here goes:
If a German pulp and paper company — and a “reputable” one at that — sees merit in reopening the old AbitibiBowater mill in central Newfoundland, why can’t the former mill workers form a co-op and take it over themselves?
It worked for Fogo Island and fish.
Why can’t it work for Grand Falls-Windsor and wood?
The Fogo Island Co-operative was formed in 1967 when the locals — facing resettlement — rebuilt their local economy on the sea, the only resource they had to play with.
Today, the co-op has boats, plants, markets and a future.
Necessity was the mudder of Fogo invention.
In the case of Grand Falls-Windsor, the unnamed German company that toured the old mill last week apparently likes the access to a wood supply, a trained workforce and potentially cheap power.
Not to mention an actual mill, which the Danny Williams administration accidentally expropriated last year.
It isn’t known how much it would cost to get the mill up and running, but Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale says government will only do so much.
Forget "big" loan guarantees or "big" subsidies from the Williams government.
That said, the province has already paid out $37 million in severance to former AbitibiBowater workers — stepping in after the company walked out.
Tell me that wouldn’t have been a great start for a pulp and paper co-op.
Dunderdale was also careful to tell people not to get their hopes up.
But then they probably can’t help themselves.
As the people of central Newfoundland have learned since the closure of their mill in early 2009, hope doesn’t grow on cranberry bushes.