Canfor announced on June 10 that it will be curtailing operations across all British Columbia sawmills, except Wynnwood. Michelle Ward, director of corporate communications at Canfor said the operating conditions in B.C. are becoming uneconomic due to high cost of fibre and poor lumber markets.
The curtailments are scheduled to run from June 17 through July 26.
Ward said majority of the mills will be curtailed for two weeks or the equivalent. However, there are extended curtailments of four weeks at Plateau in Vanderhoof and Houston, and six weeks extension at the Mackenzie sawmill.
As part of the extended curtailment Canfor’s Plateau is scheduled for temporary curtailment from July 2 to July 26. A total of 333 employees are affected at the Vanderhoof sawmill, Ward said.
On the whole, the curtailments at Canfor’s BC sawmills will impact 2,253 employees. Ward said the curtailments will reduce Canfor’s production output by approximately 200 million board feet.
Brian Frenkel, Vanderhoof councillor said local government wants to be more involved in decisions around land base. He said communities and First Nation groups should all step up and formulate a way to use land base differently.
“In our Timber Supply Area, the AAC (Allowable Annual Cut) had made a determination in 2017 and it was a big reduction due to pine beetle and we were going to cut less. And that still hasn’t been implemented. Licensees are still logging the same they were in 2017,” he said.
“As communities we were telling government and industry, that we would rather slow down a little and keep the timber longer instead of a go-go-go process which leads to a stop like we are seeing right now. Market conditions are really tough right now and companies will do what they have to. Jobs are important to every community and we need to look at these avenues,” Frenkel added.
Gerry Thiessen, mayor of Vanderhoof said even though there is instability currently in the industry he feels the community should have confidence in Canfor’s operations.
“There is a time right now to make decisions. And I think what we have to look at as a community is a certain amount of confidence. The mill has provided good stable employment over the years. The access to fibre has been a challenge and Canfor came to council a month ago and tried to relay their confidence that they have addressed fibre concerns,” Thiessen said.