Paper Excellence is planning to spend $13 million to upgrade its paper mill in Port Alberni to diversity its product line.
The Port Alberni mill, which employs 300 people, produces a range of paper products. The company now plans to add equipment and processing that will allow it to expand its ability to produce the kind of paper products used for food packaging.
Graham Kissack, vice president of and communications for Paper Excellence, said the demand for paper for traditional uses, like newsprint and writing paper, has been declining, while the demand for paper in food packaging in restaurants and food processing has been increasing.
“It’s a growing segment of the paper market,” Kissack said.
Paper Excellence credits the NDP government for providing a business climate that has encouraged the investment.
“With help from the leadership of B.C.’s government, we are very excited to invest in a winning project like this at Port Alberni; a mill that supports over 300 jobs.” Patrick Corriveau, vice president of pPaper and packaging, said in a press release.
The government has implemented policies aimed at increasing the fibre supply to pulp and paper mills. More recently it exempted the PST on the purchase of new machinery and equipment.
“Forestry has been at the heart of the economy in the Alberni Valley, on Vancouver Island, and in B.C. for generations,” Josie Osborne, NDP MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim, said in a press release. “Paper Excellence’s investment in its Port Alberni mill demonstrates its confidence in the province’s forest sector and contributes to stability and security for the local families whose livelihoods depend on it.”
Paper Excellence plans to have the new line of paper making in operation by the fourth quarter of 2021.