Three years later, Sussex has moved on after potash mine closure
People who live in and around Sussex, N.B. will mark a grim anniversary in the days to come.
But even as they do - they say the community has bounced back from the potash mine closure three years ago that threw more than 400 people out-of-work.
Alex Coffin opened a shoe store in Sussex this month, the latest business to open doors or expand in this rural New Brunswick community.
“Iseem to be meeting a lot of creative business people here, like a real entrepreneur spirit,” Coffin said. “And I think that's what you need when you have to think outside the box.”
Three years ago, this area was forced to come up with ideas, when a brand-new $2 billion potash mine suddenly shut down. Many say the town has weathered the economic blow better than anticipated.
“Yeah, I think the shock of what happened in 2016 kind of had everybody taking a deep breath and saying, what's tomorrow going to look like?” said Scott Hatcher, the Chief Administrative Officer of Sussex.
The mine itself looks a lot like it did three years ago, though the name has changed.
Last fall, Nutrien confirmed what was long-expected, that the mine would not re-open.
But local and provincial government officials do not want the company to proceed with any demolition.
While there has been no demolition on this site above ground, the MLA for this area, Bruce Northrup, says there has been dismantling underground -- dismantling of machinery that's been shipped out west.
The company says it is working with the New Brunswick government to develop a remediation schedule, which would include demolition of some buildings.
Some in the business community wonder, what the rush is.
“With the latest news that definitely, it's the end of operations, I don't think that's a huge surprise to anybody,” said business owner Ann Ophaug. “But as long as it is still there, if somebody wanted to come along and say, let’s open up, even on a smaller scale, yeah that would be great, but I don't think anybody's really counting on that to happen.”
Hatcher says the town has moved on and gotten past the idea of hoping for it to reopen.
“If something ever happens there, it's a bonus,” he said.
The potash mine was supposed to last 30 years. The mine closed three years ago this month, but the potash deposit is still underground.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.