Peter L. Smith
RAPIDES-DES-JOACHIMS – After a 10-year closure, Commonwealth Plywood celebrated their reopening Wednesday, April 19. President of Commonwealth Plywood Bill Caine Jr., was joined by Pontiac MNA André Fortin, MRC Warden Jane Toller, SADC Pontiac Director Rhonda Perry, Rapides-des-Joachims Mayor Doug Rousselle, and mayors from Waltham, Shawville and Portage-du-Fort. The re-opening represents an investment of $1 million with no government funding involved.
Caine stressed how important the mill is to the community. “I worked here as a 16-year-old, so the mill is a big part of me. The reopening brought back about 70 jobs:
50 forestry workers and 25 prior mill employees.” He hopes to add a second shift to produce up to 20 million board feet and is expected to produce $6 million a year in red and white pine lumber sales.
MNA Fortin emphasized, “The reopening proves the lumber industry is still viable. This is great news for Rapides-des-Joachims, and for the Pontiac as a whole. There is hope for other mills in the region.”
“The investment made by Mr Caine to reopen the facility is great news,” noted Rhonda Perry. “This is a major milestone and will have a significant run off effect on our economy. This announcement is one of hope and is an important step towards the revitalization of Pontiac’s forestry as well as for Rapides-des-Joachims.”
Mayor Rousselle added, “This is a great day! Warden Toller did an exceptional job bringing this together. Hopefully the mill will remain active and help bring back a solid community. We thank Bill Caine Jr for bringing hope and opportunities to Rapides-des-Joachims.”