The only sound that you can hear right now at the old Pinkham mill is the buzz from the old lights that hang from the ceiling. But by this time next year – this mill in Nashville plantation will have new life – and will put many folks in the area back to work.
Toby Pineo, the new mill manager, says, “It’s going to be a world class mill, we want to be a magnet for local people to have great paying jobs, steady, safe jobs.”
JD Irving announced Monday that the company plans to invest 30 million dollars into the mill – making it a brand new state of the art sawmill with the latest and greatest technology to produce softwood lumber. The construction of the mill will mean 50 jobs – and then once it’s up and running that will be 60 permanent positions – all for local people. Ashland Town Manager Ralph Dwyer calls this “exciting” for an area that has been depressed economically for so many years.
Ralph Dwyer, Ashland Town Manager, says “In order for the town to survive you have to have jobs, you have to have people living in the town, buying houses, and doing business there.”
Dwyer adds that this is the second piece of great news for Ashland residents this summer – back in June, Ecoshel decided to open a manufacturing plant in the area. Pineo says Irving has had a long term commitment to Maine – and this is a good time for the lumber markets.
Pineo says in the competitive sawmill industry, every advantage counts. And one of the big advantages of this location is the off road truck access to the railroads. Other advantages are the access to the wood – and the access to dedicated Northern Maine people.
Pineo says, “An extreme work ethic up here, everybody works hard…they’re reliable, they’re safe…makes for a perfect workforce.”
Right now Irving employees are working to dismantle old equipment that won’t be part of the new mill. Construction will begin in January and the mill should open next spring.