Paper’s passing

Brodie Thomas
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The province of Nova Scotia is facing many of the same problems as Newfoundland when it comes to the closure of pulp and paper mills.

Last week Nova Scotia’s provincial government announced a plan to provide millions to help restart the New Page Mill in Port Hawkesbury. The complicated deal is worth upwards of $70 million in loans and forgivable loans.

This mill produces a high-grade glossy paper that is used in magazines, rather than newsprint.

Some are saying it could give the mill 50 more years of operation. The late Steve Jobs would probably disagree with anyone on that estimate. If you’ve ever read a magazine on a tablet computer such as Apple’s iPad, you’ll know the future has arrived.

Old mediums never totally disappear. People still listen to radio, watch TV, and read newspapers, despite the rise of the internet. Now ebook readers are becoming all the rage as well. Don’t expect books to totally disappear, but publishers are jumping on board the ebook bandwagon. Imagine saving the cost of paper, ink, printing and shipping. Imagine paying the same expenses to sell one book or one million books.

Don’t fret. You’re still going to get The Gulf News in paper format brought to your door every week. Old mediums never really go away. But the electronic option is already available. Our Smart Edition can be accessed from our website. Check out the free trial, if you haven’t already.

Our province should pay attention to the New Page deal. With one idle paper mill in central, and another paper mill that seems to be teetering on the brink in Corner Brook, there are lessons to be learned from the short and long term success of this deal. There is such a thing as throwing good money after bad.

A $50 million loan last December couldn’t save another Nova Scotia paper mill located near Liverpool. Luckily the province recouped a lot of that money.

There’s really only one type of physical paper that has a foreseeable future of growth. You’ll find at least one roll of it hanging in every bathroom in the western world. Don’t expect an electronic alternative anytime soon either.

Organizations: Apple, The Gulf News

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Port Hawkesbury, Corner Brook Liverpool

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