By James Vassallo

The Daily News

New Skeena Forest Products’ unnamed white knight, “Investor A”, has been identified as The Woodbridge Company Ltd.

Woodbridge is the personal investment vehicle for the family of Ken Thomson, chairman of the Globe and Mail.

Woodbridge is the largest Canadian private investment firm with a net worth of over $20 billion. They hold large stakes in Bell Globemedia ? which includes CTV ? the Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts and have a 20-year partnership with Abitibi Consolidated, the largest newsprint maker in the world.

“This is the highest quality pool of private capital in Canada, bar none,” said Dan Veniez, New Skeena president and CEO. “They’re giving us a vote of confidence, New Skeena a vote of confidence and the Northwest a vote of confidence.”

Veniez describes Thomson as down to earth, a great philanthropist and art collector, and one of Canada’s greatest investors.

New Skeena is expected to have a binding agreement with the investor in the next few days and a definitive final agreement will follow.

He said that it was the focus on fundamentals, fibre supply markets, marketing and other factors that attracted Woodbridge to the operation. The investor was particularly impressed with the skill and dedication of New Skeena’s people, said Veniez.

On the other hand, the company was attracted to Woodbridge due to their extra diligence and long-term investment strategy.

“They’re not in this for a quick buck,” Veniez said. "They’re the furthest thing from that kind of investor or investment approach.

“It’s the antithesis of the short-term vulture.”

As such, the company knows their new investors will expect results.

“We can’t just think happy times are here again,” he said. “We have to perform and dig in.” With success, said Veniez, there will be shared profits for employees and support from Woodbridge for New Skeena’s long-term investment needs.

The once troubled forestry operation is expected to start hiring people and sending them back to work as early as July, Watson Island pulp mill some 350 temporary jobs are expected to be available for contractors and service providers to assist with start-up activities.

Once the mill is operational in early November, 354 permanent jobs are estimated. Salaries and wages over the next six months are expected to amount $43.9 million, with indirect job creation amounting to an additional $77.7 million.

The annual total impact on the Northwest from New Skeena’s startup could be in excess of $150 million.

Today at 3 p.m., New Skeena will meet with the business community at an open meeting held at the Crest to announce the public details.

“We wanted to talk to the business people,” said Lorne Byzyna, New Skeena general manager.

“Talk about our timeline for getting back into business.”

New Skeena will also meet with city council tonight and the district of Port Edward tomorrow afternoon to talk about Woodbridge and the state of negotiations with the company.

“The city’s extremely encouraged by the quality of this investor,” said Mayor Herb Pond.

“They have a good track record, financial record.”

The fact that they’re interested in Prince Rupert is something for the world to take notice of, said Pond.

Amidst those discussions may soon be a discussion of back taxes and money owed to the city.

“There’s lots of steps to take place,” said Pond, “but the number one goal is to get the pulp mill operating again.”

Byzyna said he hopes that the company will have funding in place soon, however the deal still needs to be approved by the court and creditors so the company can exit CCAA proceedings. He estimates the pulp mill in Rupert will be open by November, and the saw mill in Terrace a little sooner then that.

“I don’t think we could have done better [then Woodbridge] no matter what we did,” he said.

Does this mean that the mill is opening?

I sure hope so. The northwest is dead, needs a hUGE jumpstart.

the Vancouver Sun:


It’s not dead. Tourism is on the rise, and we’d do much better if we worked on exploiting tourists rather than destroying our forests.

Don’t you work for the northwest weekly? talk about pointless destruction of forests.


Actually, the NWW is delivered to everybody, right? Even those people who don’t want it? What’s that about? Is that how advertising is sold, based on the number of papers distributed?

Hey, it’s your choice though, it’s trees or employment, especially in the newspaper business.

NWW always has our rugby game photos in it, score!

Yeah, it’s not much different than the Daily News Extra, I guess, which is delivered whether you want it or not, and that is just filled with advertising inserts.

I like the Daily News, any newspaper that would have me on the front page, twice, can’t be bad. And they put a menino.com picture on the front page a few weeks ago too, that’s neat.

The Daily News refers to HTMF as “THE Prince Rupert web forum.” Those guys rock!

We need hosh to sneak some HTMF references into the NWW.

Most newspapers (including ours) are printed on recycled paper.

we’d definitely print your photos if you submitted them.

Well that was the neat thing about the Daily News one, I think. They just printed the photo without ever talking to me. One of their people congratulated me about a week later – that’s how I found out about it. I think a co-worker (or cow-orker) pointed them to the photo.

I need to get a real camera and learn how to take photos before I would submit them. Perhaps in September.

Unless it’s low light or there’s action, it’s not the camera that’s important…

Yeah, the Daily News shot was with the digital Elph, it was just one of those “right place at the right time” shots.

I didn’t think it was so great, but they liked it, I guess.

I love the little Elph just because I have it with me all the time. I have no idea about photography, though, but I really want to learn. It’s my personal goal ™ for next year.

Which one did they print?

Last fall they printed one of mine without asking too, and then later apologized for it.

I don’t mind the “without permission” stuff. It allows me to post Daily News articles on here “without permission.” heh.

I think it was this picture:


or this one


One of the ones from that album, anyway.


Like I said, not a great photo, just a quick snapshot.

You’re crazy if you believe that. They own those photos now.

Copyright goes to the original publisher, that’s me.

Why would you think they own them?

There’s a little disclaimer on their editorial page which says everything they print is owned by them. They’re free to sell prints of it, use it in future ads or do whatever they want with it.

So if I put a similar disclaimer on HTMF, and steal one of your photos, will it officially belong to me?