A group of 120 shareholders who invested in a failed Watson Lake sawmill 13 years ago are hopeful they’ll be paid back soon by Ottawa if a federal court of appeals upholds their award. The sawmill went bankrupt and ran out of wood in 2000, costing 150 jobs.
The shareholders were awarded $67 million in damages last year when a federal court ruled that federal forestry officials were negligent and in breach of contract. Although the Federal Court of Appeals has been reconsidering the case this month in Halifax, the South Yukon Forest Corp. mill operators are looking for what they believe to be a long overdue ruling from the government.
A ruling from a panel of three judges is expected within the next few weeks over whether the mill operators will get their compensation. In the meantime, shareholders are anxious about the decision. “It could be before Christmas,” said Don Oulton, the director of South Yukon. “It could be, I don’t know, January, February, March, whatever, but there is a lot of anticipation, and none of us are getting younger. It’s gone on for 10 years plus, and we would like to see it resolved.”