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Nearly 2 decades after a Sask. pulp mill shut down, hundreds of former workers are reuniting

Nearly two decades after the Prince Albert pulp mill closed, former employees plan to come together again. Hundreds are set to attend a reunion at Plaza 88 in Prince Albert on Sept. 16.

“We just thought it would be a really good idea to get everybody back together and show some appreciation to the city and the people that worked there,” Gordon Walker, chairman for the reunion said in an interview with CTV News.

Walker plans to showcase memorabilia from the mill and share some of its history. He notes a pivotal moment was in the early 80’s, when workers used hardwood pulp on the softwood machines.

“It was life changing for the mill. It gave us a very superior product…it was very desirable around the world,” he said.

Former employee George Fafard was there when the mill first opened in 1968.

“It was fairly new technology, so it was a huge learning curve,” he said.

“It could be stressful at times, but at the same time it paid well. For the most part people were happy to be there.”

Fred Payton, president of the Prince Albert Historical Society, said the pulp mill not only boosted Prince Albert’s economy but its morale too.

“The announcement for the pulp mill came shortly after the City of Prince Albert was able to pay off the debt incurred by the La Colle Falls dam. It was a boost for the people of Prince Albert, it showed them that Prince Albert had a future,” Payton said.

The mill closed in 2006, and was purchased by Paper Excellence five years later.

“It’ll be great to see people that I have not seen since it shut down,” Fafard said.

Former employees who wish to attend the reunion are encouraged to go to the P.A. Pulp Mill Reunion Facebook page for more information. Top Stories

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