Skip to content

Riversedge Developments ordered to pay Red Rock nearly $1.9 million in back taxes and penalties

Riversedge Developments CEO Justus Veldman says he and Red Rock have agreed to work together
Red Rock Mill OLD

THUNDER BAY — A court ordered the owner of the former Norampac linerboard mill site to pay the Township of Red Rock nearly $1.9 million in outstanding realty taxes including penalties and interest.

Township officials aren't talking about the case, and won't explain why.

Riversedge Developments acquired the mill property from the township in 2014 after Red Rock took over the site due to tax arrears involving a previous owner.

The court case began in March 2020, when Red Rock filed a claim for about $2.25 million against a numbered company controlled by Riversedge.

The mayor at the time, Gary Nelson, said, "We're going to take them to court and get some of our back taxes, at least, or try and get them back into town to clean the place up."

Nelson described the former mill property as looking "like a war zone."

In July 2021, lawyers for the company and the township signed a document consenting to a Superior Court order that $1,879,781 be paid to Red Rock for realty taxes owed to the end of December 2019, including penalties and interest to March 2021.

There was no public announcement from the township.

Mayor Darquise Robinson declined to comment recently when contacted by TBNewswatch, saying only that "it's going through the court still."

Robinson referred a reporter to Red Rock CAO Mark Figliomeni, who said he's unable to discuss the matter. 

Asked if any money has been paid to the township, Riversedge CEO Justus Veldman said 'yes' but declined to elaborate.

However, he said he has "an agreement" with Red Rock. 

Without revealing the specifics, Veldman told TBNewswatch the deal with the township allows the company to continue to work with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks on the cleanup of the old mill property.

"We've come to an agreement to hold, and to come up with a long-term development strategy. We're working out all the details... working together to come up with a long-term plan for the site," he said.

Veldman added, "We've had quite a crew there over the summer and in the fall.... We cleaned up two more environmental hotspots," which he said were left by the previous owners of the demolished mill.

He said his company intends to remain in Red Rock, invest in the community, and continue the cleanup.

In May of this year, the environment ministry issued an order to Riversedge requiring it to take action to address environmental concerns.

A ministry spokesperson told TBNewswatch the company has responded with an interim management plan for leachate, which the ministry has accepted.

Over the next six months, he said, the ministry expects Riversedge to develop work plans to address additional cleanup requirements including the removal of waste.

The timing of that cleanup is to be outlined in work plans.

Riversedge also acquired the former Resolute Forest Products mill site in Fort Frances, in 2019.

— TBNewswatch