Credit Unions Join Forestry Support Program
The Premier says, “We are monitoring, listening and working hard to respond to needs of forestry workers and businesses as they look for new customers and adjust to the changing dynamics in the sector.”
Stephen McNeil’s comments follow the announcement that Forestry contractors affected by the closure of the Northern Pulp mill can apply for short-term repayable financing, starting Tuesday, February 4th.
McNeil says, “This program, along with other initiatives that have and will be rolled out, are meant to help the sector transition and ensure forestry has a strong future in Nova Scotia.
Eligible contractors include those who have been engaged in commercial forestry harvesting and trucking in Nova Scotia during the past 12 months and have external financing arrangements in place for at least one of the following classes of commercial forestry harvesting and trucking equipment: feller buncher, harvester, processor, forwarder, skidder, roundwood truck, or chip or hog fuel truck.
Qualifying contractors can access a line of credit worth up to three months of scheduled principal and interest payments on qualified commercial forestry equipment to a maximum of $180,000. Within two years, the line of credit will convert to a loan with the term ending five years from the start of the line of credit.
There is an option to renew for an additional five years, at the discretion of the lending credit union. The maximum interest on any loan under this program is the Atlantic Central prime rate plus four per cent. The assistance is guaranteed by the province.
The program will be available through the 16 credit unions across the province that offer the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program. The two programs are separate, and the Forestry Contractor Financing Program will have a more simplified application process.
The program will be available for applications at the participating credit unions until June 30, 2020.
To date, the $50 million transition fund is supporting $7 million for more silviculture and road work on both Crown land and private lands; $5 million for government guarantees for this financing program; $1.5 million to help workers from across the sector connect to customized programming in the skilled trades, at no cost, and emergency assistance funding for laid-off workers available through local Access Nova Scotia centres.
A toll-free line (1-888-315-0110) is available for those affected who have questions.
A confidential, 24-7 support line (1-866-885-6540) is available for anyone who may need emotional support.
The government forestry sector support website is at https://novascotia.ca/forestry-sector-support/.
A list of the 16 participating credit unions can be found on the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council website at http://www.novascotia.coop/programs/small-business-loan-guarantee-program/.
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