A meeting Friday between Celgar manager Al Hitzroth and the city's major industry task force is being characterized as “pleasant and positive”.
Councillor (and task force member) Russ Hearne said the meeting was not intended to serve as the last word on the issue, but rather as a first step in opening the lines of communication.
“The whole goal was just to sit down, explain (the city's) task force idea and schedule future meetings,” he explained. “We didn't solve any of the issues – it was more of an orientation to get us both on the same page and ready to problem-solve together.”
He said he feels the meeting was an important opportunity to show Celgar representatives that the city is committed to working in cooperation toward a viable, successful relationship between the two parties.
Celgar officials were not available for comment as of this press time.
In related news, a B.C. Supreme Court hearing is scheduled in Campell River for early August regarding a similar taxation issue involving Catalyst Paper and several West Coast municipalities. Any decision will likely have an impact on the Celgar/Castlegar scenario, both in terms of precedent and in allowing the various parties a sense of the bench's reaction to similar situations.
Mayor Lawrence Chernoff said in an interview Tuesday that he's not positive of the exact date of the court appearance, but he will be watching the proceedings with baited breath.