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Corner Brook paper mill asking to cut timber near city water supply

Corner Brook Pulp & Paper, owned by Montreal-based company Kruger, has put in a request to harvest wood near the town's water supply.  (Colleen Connors/CBC - image credit)
Corner Brook Pulp & Paper, owned by Montreal-based company Kruger, has put in a request to harvest wood near the town's water supply. (Colleen Connors/CBC - image credit)
Corner Brook Pulp & Paper, owned by Montreal-based company Kruger, has put in a request to harvest wood near the town's water supply.
Corner Brook Pulp & Paper, owned by Montreal-based company Kruger, has put in a request to harvest wood near the town's water supply.

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, owned by Montreal-based company Kruger, has put in a request to harvest wood near the town's water supply. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper has asked for permission to cut wood near the city's water supply, prompting the mayor to assure the public that such requests undergo a stringent approval process.

Corner Brook Mayor Jim Parsons says requests to perform work near the watershed go through the city's watershed management committee.

"It is something that we take quite seriously," Parsons said.

"It's just satisfying to see that the community takes it seriously too, because water is the No. 1 priority for any community."

Residents have until Thursday to voice their concerns via email to city council.

Parsons says more information has to be provided to the public before the council makes a final decision, as currently, it's limited to only the fact that the company wants to log near the water supply.

He says some people might misunderstand the watershed and how the industry in the area is allowed to operate.

There are different zones that make up the 11,000-hectare lake. Some zones are strictly forbidden to access, and some are more accessible but governed by safety protocols. Those guidelines are available to the public online, the mayor says.

The watershed management committee — which is composed of representatives from council, environment, energy and mining industries, residents of Corner Brook and nearby towns that use the water supply, and the province — is reviewing the request to ensure it follows protocol.

The company that owns the paper mill is Montreal-based company Kruger Inc. In a statement to CBC News, spokesperson Marie-Claude Tremblay said the company is still in discussions with the committee.

"The timber to be harvested will be the second crop harvested to support the operation in the last 80 years," Tremblay wrote.

"[Corner Brook Pulp And Paper] invested in pre-commercial thinning to support the development of this second crop over 30 years ago, and [will] now harvest at maturity."

Similar requests come periodically, Parsons said, with the most recent one approved in 2018.

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