Marathon’s mayor said his town is in a better position to promote alternative uses for its waterfront following Wednesday’s update about the ongoing demolition of the local pulp mill.
“The meeting went well,” said Rick Dumas.
Dumas and other town officials met with Tembec, the former mill co-owner overseeing the tear-down project overlooking Lake Superior.
The demolition was supposed to have been done by the end of this year, but Dumas said Tembec now believes the job will be finished no later than the early fall of 2016.
“Based on what we have been told, we now feel that we can really start to market the property,” said Dumas.
Dumas said that while there is no new industrial proponent on the immediate horizon, “we are in dialogue with some companies.” He said he couldn’t elaborate.
Dumas said he remains confident that there is enough so-called “garbage wood,” like poplar, in the vicinity of the waterfront that could supply a future manufacturer of a product other than pulp, such as wood pellets.
The pulp mill went bankrupt in 2009. Tembec originally attempted to abandon the property, but the Ministry of Environment ordered the Quebec company to remain and ensure that all environmental hazards have been addressed.
The demolition started two years ago, after Tembec retained a Toronto demolition company that has worked from spring to late fall.
Dumas said although the mill appears largely intact from a distance, “there’s a lot of work that’s been done behind the buildings that you can’t see from the road.”
Earlier this year, Tembec sought to have a large evaporator building remain intact until 2017 so that it could be sold off.
The Ministry of Environment rejected that request, but said “there is no environmental reason not to allow Tembec additional time to complete the (demolition by 2016).”
“To date, Tembec has advised that its demolition company expects all of the buildings will be demolished in 2015, with final site clean-up occurring in the spring of 2016,” said an MOE spokeswoman.