Jobless can’t find new Catalyst site owner

More than 20 jobless workers came up empty this week when they went to the Catalyst main gate expecting to meet the new industrial park owner offering job opportunities.

Alberta developer Harold Jahn was nowhere to be found Monday through Thursday and crews contracted to Catalyst were still busy decommissioning the property.

Another deadline for the sale of the Catalyst Paper Elk Falls Mill came and went Oct. 19 with neither party to the sale offering any explanation for the third missed deadline since the transaction was announced with great fanfare in mid-August.

A contract employee working at the mill’s main gate house said more than 20 job seekers and relatives of job seekers had dropped by looking for the new owner and job application forms.

“They read in the paper that (Jahn) would be here,” he said.

Earlier this month Jahn, the owner of Pacifica Deep Sea Terminals, told the Mirror: “A group of us will be at the site during the week of Oct. 22 using former Catalyst offices at the main gate.”  He promised there would be forms available for prospective employees to fill out and they would be forwarded to lessees. There would also be an “open house” in November, he said.

Thursday morning on the Mirror deadline a spokesperson for Catalyst said no update on the status of the sale was imminent. Calls to Jahn were going to his cellular voice mail.

City Manager Andy Laidlaw said: “We have been monitoring this situation closely and, to my knowledge, the sale completion has not happened at this point.”

The one-page Pacifica Deep Sea Terminals website states: “Pacifica is focused on transforming the former Elk Falls Catalyst paper mill lands into a dynamic industrial park and port facility with the goal of creating over 400 full time employment positions for the community of Campbell River within the coming 36 months.”

The website even gives the property a new name, “Pacifica Industrial Park,” which it says is “strategically located for marine, aquaculture, light manufacturing, assembly facilities, distribution warehouses, and clean energy technology developers.”

Jahn has claimed to be meeting with existing tenants and to be working with “20 or 30 prospective new tenants.” He has said he would bring some of his existing companies to the new industrial park.

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