Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation has begun its annual maintenance shutdown to carry out preventative maintenance on non-operating equipment.
The shutdown will see the mill’s workforce skyrocket from just over 330 to nearly 1,000 workers with tradespeople descending on the Pictou County region.
The original shutdown budget of $8 million for the 10-day period has now been increased to more than $10 million, with over half of that covering wages.
“The annual maintenance shutdown is key to ensuring a safe and reliable operation in the year to come. Not many companies have the opportunity to spend a million dollars a day for 10 straight days,” states Northern Pulp General Manager Bruce Chapman. “This is on top of our annual operating costs and capital projects.”
While the shutdown itself will occur over a 10-day period, extra crews have already been on site for the past four weeks and many will remain a week after the mill resumes production on September 20.
To handle the cars that accompany an extra 450 plus people at the Abercrombie Mill site, Northern Pulp has opened up a parking lot at the west end of the mill and hired a bus to transport workers from the parking lot to their work stations.
While most contractors, tradespeople and technical experts come from throughout Nova Scotia, some will be travelling from other provinces.
“It is a busy spot around the mill and throughout the entire community as once again local hoteliers, retailers and restaurateurs welcome hundreds of tradespeople during their time here,” says Chapman. “I’m not sure which will be more challenging – finding a parking space in our lot or a hotel room.”