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OCTOBER 26, 2005 

Mill closed for restructuring and new owner

Temagami's year-old birch sawmill, and the town's only industrial promise, is closed for restructuring during its sale to a non-Temagami company.

About 40 workers were laid off by the Township of Temagami's largest employer in August and Temagami Forest Products expects to hire them back after the restructuring and sale are completed in 45 days.

Local resident and company president Ivan Beauchamp said the business would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the larger buyer. He declined to name the company as the sale is not final.

After restructuring it will become a fully value-added operation. Currently it is a sawmill producing rough-sawn birch lumber and byproducts, like chips. The new facility will go further and manufacture new products from the lumber.

"This was our five-year plan, to become a total re-manufacturing operation," said Beauchamp.

As a sawmill the business was not producing sufficient profits. "We were just shipping volume like we are used to in Northern Ontario and we were falling into that trap."

"Volume becomes your driver and volume is not the answer for this facility."

The business has been challenged from early on when the Ontario government stalled on commitments of birch in 2001, leading to local residents protesting at Queen's Park. In 2002 negotiations for a partnership with the Temagami First Nation failed. Then the August layoffs.

The mill has been the town's single hope for maintaining sufficient employment to retain enough families and residents to support the school and basic retail facilities. However, a number of mill employees do not reside there, but live in other communities as far away as Sturgeon Falls. 

Beauchamp is optimistic about the changes. "I think it will be great for Temagami and it will keep the mill going."

  BACKGROUND:  Proposed mill

                         Progress slow

                         First Nation out of mill

                         Mill gets license

                         Construction starts

                         Mill to open in a month

                         Birch mill officially opens

OCTOBER 24, 2005 

Elk Lake parks meeting turns ugly

Last Wednesday's informational meeting in Elk Lake was an ugly affair for Ministry of Natural Resources staff there to discuss creation of plans for Temagami's parks and recreational use of Crown land.

Many locals utilize former logging roads for ATV and 4WD access to the wilderness park, despite a provincial policy that restricts motorized travel. After years of Wild West freedoms, they fear the Temagami Integrated Plan will draw the line.

"Area residents are sick of being told how to use their land," Bruce Aitchison of Elk Lake was quoted in the Kirkland Lake Northern News today. Aitchison is a local forester.

John Salo, parks superintendent quoted in the paper, maintained his composure and pointed out that not only had no decisions been made, but that "all people of Ontario have a voice when it comes to provincial parks."

Open houses have been held in local communities since late August to present background material for the plan's creation.

"Integrated complaining house," Ted Krofchak of Temagami Outfitting described the first meeting in Temagami, when bush pilots disrupted a slide show.

The predominant issue has been open motorized access to the parks demanded by rowdy users in Temagami, New Liskeard and Elk Lake.

The traditional self-propelled users have been largely absent from these meetings.

  NEWS STORY: Northern News (online temporarily)

OCTOBER 22, 2005 

Fall colours seen from space

Yesterday's satellite photo not only reveals the foliage colour, but a fire north of Lake Wanapitei.


OCTOBER 21, 2005 

Car vandalized at Sandy Inlet

Over the Labour Day weekend, a canoeist returning to his Sierra pickup, parked at Sandy Inlet on Lake Temagami, faced a $700 repair bill from vandalism.

While Garry Bastien of Ottawa and friends were paddling the Canton Lakes, vandals stole two mirrors, four hub caps, an auto emblem and the electrical connector for his canoe trailer.

A second auto with the group was not damaged.

In another incident, tires were slashed last month at Obabika Lake (see yesterday's story).

OCTOBER 20, 2005 

Tires slashed at Obabika Lake

Two canoeists parked last month at the gate on the Goulard Road at Obabika Lake had their tires slashed.

Ed MacPherson, while driving by, saw the jacked-up Ford Focus, a wheel missing, and a lone man sitting in it. He stopped to offer help and learned that the canoeists had been out on the Obabika River for several days.

Upon returning to their cars on September 19, they found three tires slashed. They removed these and headed to Sturgeon Falls, a slow  89.6-kilometre (55.7 miles) drive south, to buy new ones.

Hours later when they got back, they discovered the fourth tire had been slashed.

This time one man stayed behind to protect the vehicle while the other made the long trek for yet another tire.

As the lonely guardian told MacPherson, they did not have good vacation.

MAP:  Obabika Lake access point

OCTOBER 17, 2005 

Fall colours seen from space


Photo: logging truck warning sign on Bob Lake portage

Recently posted along the Bob- Lake-to-Log-Lake portage on the Bob Lake Road, which feeds the Red Squirrel Road.

                    ALEX BROADBENT

OCTOBER 15, 2005 

Logging trucks make Red Squirrel Road treacherous as cutting rises

Driving is treacherous on the old portion of the Red Squirrel Road as  the logging-truck traffic has risen sharply with a jump in cutting.

New roads have been constructed and clear-cutting has escalated to near-record levels in the roadless backcountry north and northwest of Lake Temagami.

The Eagle Lake Road has been extended close to Anima Nipissing Lake for poplar and birch clear-cutting by Grant Forest Products in block 16. The company operates the largest oriented-strand-board plant in the world, the single largest consumer of timber in Ontario consuming over 100 truckloads of timber a day.

The Sirdevan Lake Road has been extended close to Lady Evelyn Lake for pine logging by Goulard Lumber in block 9.

Liskeard Lumber recently restored the Bob Lake Road and is cutting jack pine and spruce west of Sharp Rock Inlet.

Logging had slowed to a trickle in the backcountry over the last decade due in large part to the spillover from intense opposition by environmental and aboriginal groups that was fiercest in the period from 1985 to 1990.

Drive carefully as logging trucks are too heavy and bulky to be quickly responsive or maneuverable. It seems everyone in the North has had, or knows someone whose had, an accident with one.

  MAP:  Active or imminent logging blocks

             Grant Forest Products: blocks 10, 11, 13, 16

                  Liskeard Lumber: blocks 33, 42, 43

                  Goulard Lumber: block 9               


OCTOBER 10, 2005 

Red Squirrel Road extension rising on arresting ground

The famous Temagami battleground of the Eighties is rising from the ashes this fall. Construction crews have re-opened two-thirds of the Red Squirrel Road extension where 344 people were arrested before it could be completed in 1989 from Bob Lake west to Pencil Lake in preparation for logging by Domtar next year.

After the arrests of environmentalists, concerned citizens and aboriginals, the road was abandoned by the Liberal government of the day, and left to the forest to gradually reclaim, until today.

The remains of a bridge over Pencil Creek, burned by vandals in October 1996, will be replaced with a culvert this fall. It will be buried about 50 yards from the site where a woman was lifted into a tree in 1989 and obstructed bulldozers for 13 days.

The remaining third of the road west to Nasmith Creek will be rebuilt next year.

The high-profile symbol of the destruction of wilderness and old-growth forest by logging, once too politically costly to touch is too cheap to ignore.

  Background:  Blockade map

                         Chronology of the Red Squirrel battle

Map: Bob Lake Road (Eye Lake Road) and adjoining logging areas

  Background: Court allows road through reserve

                        Appeal denied

                        Preliminary road work

OCTOBER 6, 2005 

Bob Lake Road open for logging

Crews finished opening the Bob Lake Road and logging has been begun west of Sharp Rock Inlet on Lake Temagami.

Road work began in the spring and finished in September, allowing Liskeard Lumber to start cutting blocks 42 and 43 for spruce and jack pine. The blocks are between Sharp Rock Inlet and Obabika Lake.

This controversial road passes through the Bob Lake Conservation Reserve and was unsuccessfully challenged in court by Earthroots and the Sierra Legal Defense Fund in September 2003.


OCTOBER 5, 2005 

Keewaydin director resigns

Keewaydin director Doug Mosle resigned last month from the canoe-trip camp. The Keewaydin Foundation, which operates the camp, is expecting to replace him by January.

Mosle, a former camper and member of the trip staff, held the directorship since 2002. Keewaydin is Canada's oldest youth camp. It moved to Temagami in 1902 from Maine and is the oldest private institution on Lake Temagami.

 BACKGROUND: Keewaydin Camp


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