Midway mill up for auction next week
The entire Midway Forest Products mill including equipment and property, formerly owned by Pope and Talbot Ltd., is up for auction. Midway Mayor Randy Kappes is hopeful that the mill will be picked up by someone and reopen, but at the very least Fox Lumber Sales Inc., owners of Midway Forest Products, will pay their taxes. Kappes said that Fox Lumber has not paid their taxes for two years running and if they do not pay this year the city will have the right to post the property for a tax sale. “The requirement for a tax sale is that they be three years in arrears. One way or another it makes something happen out there,” said Kappes. “It’s good for the village because it would be good to see either some taxes paid on the property or something happen with it. Three years of nothing is a long time.” Fox Lumber had picked up the mill when Pope and Talbot was in bankruptcy proceedings in 2008. After a short run of operations that started prior to the actual purchase, they closed the mill and it has sat idle. James G. Murphy Canada is auctioning the mill on Friday, Sept. 17 at 12:00 p.m. If the mill does not sell as a whole, individual items will then be put out for auction in late October. According to their spokesman, Terry Moore, there are some parties interested in purchasing the entire mill. “Right now, for this particular auction, we’re trying to find a bidder to take the whole property as one item (mill, equipment, and land),” said Moore. “Failing that what we’ll do is conduct an auction and sell it piece by piece. We’ve got a number of people that have called and are interested in bidding on it. I guess we’ll see what happens on auction day.” Piecing out the mill would be good news for International Forest Products Ltd. (Interfor) whose point of appraisal cannot be moved from Midway until the mill is not operational for a period of five years. The point of appraisal was set when Midway mill was operational under Pope and Talbot, and determines the closest mill to lumber cut in the West Boundary. Since Interfor is shipping lumber from the West Boundary to Grand Forks they now incur transportation cost from Midway to Grand Forks until the point of appraisal can be changed.