Port’s economy is not likely to get a boost from the closure of the Dinan Bay logging camp for at least a year, and possibly not at all.
The camp, operating for more than 20 years, is scheduled to close in December 2003, but until then, workers can stay there if they choose. Right now, about 70 employees of Edwards and Associates live at the camp, says Brad Billings of Edwards and Assoc. Also housed there are employees of Olympic Forest Products and Fedje & Gunderson, a falling company.
This year is a transition year to give people time to adjust to the closure, which means a big adjustment for them, Mr. Billings says.
Between five and ten employees who lived in camp, and received room and board there while they work, have been relocated to the Juskatla operation, says Mr. Billings. They are getting an extra $50 a day until the camp closes.
Even with the camp closing, there may be no big boost to Port’s economy caused by camp workers moving there, says a Weyerhaeuser official.
Don Carlyle, Human Resources Manager for Weyerhaeuser in Juskatla says some employees may choose to move to the islands, but he doesn’t expect to see a sudden flood. And many are accepting early retirement packages from the company-as many as 52 hourly employees are expected to accept voluntary severance packages by December 2003, Mr. Carlyle says.
“No current employees that I know of have committed to move themselves and their families to Port Clements. They are free to move at any time in the next year. At this time, I have not been advised that any have chosen to move,” says Mr. Billings.
On the other side of the coin, employees who move to the islands will receive a $10,000 relocation grant forgivable over two years, but because of a declining harvest level Mr. Carlyle anticipates fewer workers will be needed, so most of the 52 people who leave will not be replaced.
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