Grand Falls-Windsor has a rich forest resource dormant since the closure of the mill seven years ago and now it could be the subject of a study.
The Centre for Forest Science and Innovation has requested a meeting with council to discuss the possibility of doing the study. The centre is responsible for the development of forest-related research and science programs in the province.
Mayor Barry Manuel said council is supporting the proposed study.
“We do know we’ve got this resource that we’re surrounded by and we do know that government has been trying to find investment and has been trying to find potential uses for the resource,” Manuel said. “But unfortunately nothing has come to fruition yet and this study would look at some diversification in terms of what can be done with regards to industry, manufacturing perhaps or is there any fabrication that can be done.”
The first meeting has yet to be arranged between council and a representative from the centre.
Since the closure of the mill, there have been all kinds of new technologies created, such as bio fuel. There may be an opportunity to use the resource to supply an industry like that, Manuel said.
Council has also been talking about the possibility of producing wood pellets.
“Basically (the study is) just looking at what the potential uses are. And being able to do a study like this, of course, can be used as a tool to lobby government and used as a tool by government when making decisions and hopefully coming up with a practical use for our forest resource for the benefit of the region,” Manuel said.
“We’re just working towards getting a plan in place and looking at the potential uses, not to make any decisions at this time. But there’s always room for public input, when it comes to our forest resource. From a council standpoint if people in the region wanted to bring their ideas forward or had suggestions for council, I mean my door is always open and the phone is always free. So let me know and I would be more than happy to take their concerns or their ideas forward.”
The ultimate goal is jobs.
“That’s why we want to use this resource,” Manuel said. “We’re looking forward to hopefully getting a call from them, so we can get together and add our input to the report sometime in the near future.”