Riverfront Redevelopment May Breathe New Life into Former Mill Site

West Nipissing may be planning a transformative redevelopment of a 28-acre site that once housed a paper mill. The Municipality of West Nipissing purchased the land from paper company Weyerhaeuser in 2020 for $156,000. The project envisions a riverfront district complete with a public park, trail network, stores, and housing for various age groups.

Consultant Michelle Blom told the council that the project represents “a chance for a step forward and an example for change,” adding that the site is both “a symbol of history for the community” and “a chance for a new beginning.”

Paul Hicks, another consultant, recommended partnering with a “master developer” to oversee the project but noted that government funding would likely be necessary to remediate the contaminated site. “It’s very likely that forms of public funding will be needed to make the redevelopment possible,” he said, explaining that even larger cities would require government help for such a large-scale clean-up.

Local council members and staff expressed excitement over the potential of the project. Councillor Kris Rivard said, “That was pretty impressive and pretty neat to see there what could be done with the property.” Stephan Poulin, the director of economic development and community services, acknowledged the extensive work ahead: “Obviously a lot of work has been put into this report, but now a lot more work has to be done.”