News & Events
Council saddened by mill closureThursday, 21 May 2009
Southland District Council Mayor Frana Cardno says the closure of the Brightwood Mill in Otautau next month is a tragedy for the workers. "I am disappointed at the way it has happened. The first thing I knew about it was in the newspaper today," Mrs Cardno said. It has been a tough year for Western Southland, with this and the announcement in February that Solid Energy is closing its Ohai mine at the end of June, she said.
"I feel for the community - this area has been hard hit and is suffering."
Up to 60 workers will lose their jobs when the sawmill closes next month. Mill management said they had looked at every alternative to try to keep it open.
A similar announcement was made in January 2007, but 10 days later, it was announced the mill would stay open. However, management says this time is "more final," according to the Southland Times.
Mrs Cardno said Council and Venture Southland had met with mill management in 2007 and had worked hard to avoid total closure.
Council and Venture would encourage mill owners to mothball the mill, rather than dismantle it, so the closure could be short-term rather than longterm, she said.
"If the economy picks up then the mill could reopen as it is an important industry for Western Southland and indeed for the region."
Venture Southland community development group manager Rex Capil said from a community development perspective, he did not think the decision could be changed this time.
Venture would be working with the workers and other residents after the closure to see what options could be available, Mr Capil said.
Council and Venture would also talk to Government departments to see what support could be offered.
Who to contact
If you would like to discuss a matter on this page, feel free to contact us:
Southland District Council
P.O. Box 903
Phone: 0800 732 732
Fax: 0800 732 329