Province announces details of loan program for forestry contractors

A week after announcing a short-term loan program for forestry contractors, the Nova Scotia government has released the eligibility details.

Last week, the province’s forestry transition team said it would use $5 million from a $50-million fund to give loans of up to $180,000 through credit unions in Nova Scotia.

The province will assume the risk for anyone who can’t pay the money back.

Forestry contractors affected by the closure of the Northern Pulp mill in Abercrombie, N.S., will be able to begin applying for the loans this Tuesday. They are intended to help with loan payments on equipment.

Eligibility spelled out

According to a news release from the government, eligible contractors include people who have been engaged in commercial forestry harvesting and trucking in Nova Scotia during the past 12 months.

They must have external financing arrangements in place for at least one of the following classes of commercial forestry harvesting and trucking equipment:

  • feller buncher.
  • harvester.
  • processor.
  • forwarder.
  • skidder.
  • roundwood truck.
  • chip or hog fuel truck.

Anyone who qualifies can get access to a line of credit worth up to three months of scheduled principal and interest payments on qualified commercial forestry equipment, to a maximum of $180,000.

“Within two years, the line of credit will convert to a loan with the term ending five years from the start of the line of credit,” according to the news release.

“There is an option to renew for an additional five years, at the discretion of the lending credit union. The maximum interest on any loan under this program is the Atlantic Central prime rate plus four per cent.”

Applications open until end of June

The program will be available for applications at the participating credit unions until June 30, 2020.

The announcement comes on the same day the terms of the Boat Harbour Act take effect. The transition team was set up in response to the shutdown in an effort to find new markets for the forestry industry and offer assistance to people who either want to stay in the sector or transition to something else.

The mill, meanwhile, continues to work its way through the process of putting its site into hibernation and intends to try to fulfil the requirements of the environmental assessment process for a new effluent treatment facility. Its former treatment site, Boat Harbour, will be formally disconnected from the pipe connect it to the mill by the end of April.

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