One of the province’s oldest companies will become greener, reduce operating costs and create jobs. Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company Limited will build a biodiesel plastics processing plant that converts plastic garbage into a marketable fuel source. A facility will also be constructed to create electricity from forest byproducts. Premier Rodney MacDonald announced today, April 2, in Hantsport, that the province will invest up to $20.7 million in the expansion. “We are committed to investing in innovative and resourceful companies that contribute to job growth, a green environment, and a strong economy for Nova Scotia,” said Premier MacDonald. “Minas Basin is taking a leadership role by helping to ensure environmental sustainability for this province.” The company produces paperboard from 100 per cent recycled material and diverts 48,000 tonnes of waste paper from Nova Scotia landfills. The expansion will also divert 4,000 tonnes of plastic waste. The provincial investment will allow Minas Basin to commit to more than $27 million in capital expenditures. The company will also pay for training, financing and associated costs. “This assistance from the province allows us to enter the next phase of sustainable restructuring for Minas Basin,” said Scott Travers, Minas Basin president and chief operating officer. “It will create significant operational savings and increase the supply of renewable energy for Nova Scotia. “These very positive environmental investments will give further recognition to the company as a ‘green’ manufacturer and stewardship leader in the Canadian pulp and paper and energy industries.” The province will provide an investment incentive of $3 million through the Industrial Expansion Fund and $2 million through the federal Ecotrust program for the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution. It will also provide up to $12.5 million through a 10-year loan from the Nova Scotia Strategic Opportunities Fund Inc. The province has already purchased land for $3.2 million. “The company’s innovative business model emphasizes recycling, waste elimination and energy reduction,” said Angus MacIsaac, Minister of Economic Development. “Minas Basin is continuing to play a significant role in creating prosperity for Nova Scotia.” Minister of Environment Mark Parent said the project will help the province meet its environmental targets. “I commend Minas Basin for innovative leadership in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Mr. Parent. “This project will help Nova Scotia reach its goal of being one of the cleanest and most sustainable environments in the world by 2020.” The province recently bought about 820 hectares (2,026 acres) of land from the company adjacent to Blomidon Provincial Park. “Through this investment, the province will gain highly desirable land,” said David Morse, Minister of Natural Resources. “By acquiring this land, we are contributing to the ongoing health of a key rural employer, while adding valuable properties to those in our limited Crown land base.” Minas Basin was founded in 1927 in Hantsport and produces ground wood pulp and paperboard. The company employs 180 people with an annual payroll of more than $10 million. In 2007, the company received a North American award for outstanding results in using technology to recover heat. Through the Nova Scotia Strategic Opportunities Fund, part of the federal Immigrant Investor Program, the province provides loans for projects that contribute to government’s economic development plan, Opportunities for Sustainable Prosperity. The Industrial Expansion Fund is one method the government of Nova Scotia uses to support economic development in the province. It is key to helping industries involved in innovative research and technology, while contributing to a prosperous and sustainable business climate for Nova Scotia. The fund has considerable flexibility in the amount and type of funding it can provide. Ecotrust supports provincial and territorial projects to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution. Nova Scotia’s funding through Ecotrust for Clean Air and Climate Change program is $42.5 million, part of the federal government’s $1.5-billion trust.
Torstar Corp. will lay off 21 staff at its StarMetro office in Toronto as part of a shift of production operations to nearby Hamilton.The cuts include nine full-time editors, two full-time reporter-photographers, and 10 part-time copy editors, who will have work at the paper until the end of August, company spokesman Bob Hepburn said Thursday.The cuts are part of the company’s centralization of editing and production operations in Hamilton for cost efficiencies, he said, adding copy editors will be able to apply for jobs at the expanding office in that city.Torstar, which owns weekly and daily newspapers including the Toronto Star and the Hamilton Spectator, rebranded its Metro papers in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto, and Vancouver under the StarMetro name as part of a relaunch in April.The layoffs come just days after media publishing rival Postmedia Network Inc. announced it would close six small-town newspapers and reduce print publication of four more, while slashing 10 per cent of its total salary outlay through staff layoffs and voluntary buyouts by the end of August.Last November, Torstar and Postmedia announced they had exchanged a total of 41 publications, mostly in Ontario, and would stop publishing most of them, resulting in 291 job losses, prompting an ongoing Competition Bureau investigation.Both publishers have undergone rigorous cost-cutting measures in recent years, including several rounds of staff reductions through both buyouts and layoffs as they attempt to offset the impact of declining advertising revenue in a digital world dominated by the likes of Google and Facebook.In April, Torstar announced it was doubling the pool of reporters at its western Canadian Metro free daily newspapers — an unusual move in a shrinking industry.CEO John Boynton said at the time the initiative represented a major investment in journalism outside of the company’s Toronto headquarters, where it publishes the daily Toronto Star.The company’s five Metro newspapers — in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Halifax — were rebranded StarMetro, with city-specific versions of the thestar.com for each.Aside from the Star and its affiliated website, Torstar owns daily and community newspapers throughout Ontario, a 56.4 per cent interest in VerticalScope and minority interests in a number of other companies.Torstar also holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with a subsidiary of the Globe and Mail and the parent company of Montreal’s La Presse.