Sonoco, the owner of the Trent Valley Mill in Quinte West, Ont., has announced it will permanently close the facility on June 12.
Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison says he only heard about the closure 24 hours ago.
“It’s a big hit,” he said. “I was blindsided when it came,” Harrison said.
The closure will affect 106 employees.
Harrison says he knew Sonoco was looking to sell the mill last fall but didn’t think it was in trouble.
“They thought they had a buyer but that deal did not go through, and of course I never thought at the time they would consider shutting it down.”
The mill makes recycled linerboard and recycled uncoated paperboard.
Julie Scott, in Sonoco’s corporate communications department, told Global Kingston in an e-mail that market conditions were the driving force behind the closure.
Scott says the coronavirus pandemic has slowed demand for the mill’s products, which are exported to Asia, but problems existed before COVID-19.
“Overall market decline has been affecting production over the last several years,” she said.
Harrison says he’s contacted the premier’s office as well as the local MP and MPP asking for help.
Harrison says he hasn’t spoken directly to any Sonoco representatives so far, but will be on Friday in a conference call “with a number of the staff of Quinte West, economic development and the company.”
Sonoco has stated it is currently working with Unifor Local 1489, the union that represents employees at the mill, to develop a memorandum of closure agreement.
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