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Coast News closes early The company which owns the Whistler Question shut down operations of its Sunshine Coast newspaper two weeks prior to the scheduled final edition as former employees forge on in pursuit of a new publication for the area. WestMount Press, owner of the Gibsons-based Coast News, closed the paper Jan. 10, even though staff were under the impression they would be publishing until Jan. 30. Bob Doull, president of WestMount Press, says the doors were locked on the Coast News because it was financially unable to continue operating. "The paper was losing money and there wasn't much point in continuing," Doull says. "We were quite public with the community and the employees that we were going to try and make it to the end of the month, but that wasn't feasible." Fifty-three Coast News employees lost their jobs when WestMount announced Nov. 17 the publication would close due to financial losses. Doull says the employees have been paid up to Jan. 31. All of the capital assets, desks and computer hardware in the office have been sold, Doull says. Andy Jukes, production manager of the Coast News and partner in the new Coast Independent, set to publish its first issue Feb. 13, says the reasons for the early closure are not as clear as they seem. "We had put out the Jan. 9 issue and I was coming back to work the next morning and there were two guy there in trench coats standing at the front door and they wouldn't let us in." According to Jukes, the closure may have happened early because WestMount management didn't want employees working on developing their new paper at the Coast News office. "The funny thing is, we were looking for investors and had taken out an ad in the Coast News," Jukes says. "That ad ran in the Jan. 9 issue and the next day, the office was locked up and everything was sold."

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