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Demolition of abandoned newsprint mill in Stephenville, western Newfoundland.

Photo CBC

Blast of the past: Crews demolish buildings at vacated mill
Last Updated: Monday, June 2, 2008 | 11:23 AM NT CBC News

A boiler and nearby smokestack toppled within seconds of one another Monday morning at the old Stephenville newsprint mill. (CBC)
A demolition crew used explosives Monday to flatten several large structures at an abandoned newsprint mill in western Newfoundland.

Within seconds, a 75-metre smokestack and an adjacent 55-metre boiler tumbled to the ground at the old Abitibi-Consolidated newsprint mill in Stephenville. Moments later, huge concrete storage bins tumbled to the ground.

"It was quite a spectacular sight," CBC videojournalist Doug Greer said.

Abitibi-Consolidated decided to close the troubled mill in December 2005, when it also shut down a mill in Kenora, Ont. About 300 full-time and part-time Newfoundland employees lost their main source of income.

Abitibi — which has since merged with a former rival to form AbitibiBowater — applied in 2006 to decommisison the decades-old mill site, which was first established as a government-sponsored linerboard mill.

By the time the debris is cleared in August, only an office and a storage area will be left standing at the mill.

"By this time next year, it's expected that the site will be returned to its green field status. It'll be like there had never been a paper mill there," Greer said

Although Stephenville residents had feared a sharp economic blow from the mill's closing, the regional economy has been weathering the storm. Many skilled labourers have remained in the town and commute to jobs in Alberta, while others found jobs nearby.

Stephenville is the home of the former Harmon Airforce Base, built by the USA in 1941. The base was closed in 1966.

The mill was built in 1973, and later taken over by Abitibi-Price in 1978.,_Newfoundland_and_Labrador

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