Chamber AGM: Canfor long term commitment continues in Vanderhoof

Vanderhoof’s Plateau Sawmill operations are committed for the long haul despite recent mill closures in the region, Canfor says.

Vanderhoof’s Plateau Sawmill operations are committed for the long haul despite recent mill closures in the region, Canfor says.

Speaking to businesses at the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting on Oct. 4, Ian Stephen, operations manager of Vanderhoof fibre, stated that the company is moving north towards Takla Landing area where “valleys of wood” are still available.

Another source of raw materials for Vanderhoof’s mill may come from Canfor’s other operations, such as in Fort St. John, as part of the company strategy of fibre.

“We feel very comfortable as a company about our supply,” Stephen said. “We’re ready for whatever that hits us.”

Canfor’s decision to close their Clear Lake and Rustad sawmills in 2011 was part of the company’s rationalization strategy, said plant manager Budd Wasylyshen.

“You take one toe off but you keep swimming.”

When asked by an audience member how the spruce beetle is affecting operations, Stephen said Mackenzie and Prince George sawmills are impacted, but not locally.

Spruce beetle-infested wood deteriorates quicker than those from the mountain pine beetle, while pine infested up to 18 years could still be processed into boards, Stephen added.

 

Other news from the chamber:

 

The role of the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce was put into question at its annual general meeting.

“Where do you see what your board of directors’ role is,” said president Joe Von Doellen to over 30 attendees at the Village Inn Restaurant. “Are we still relevant as a chamber; we only have 10 per cent of membership tonight.”

Two audience members expressed that chamber representation can connect with businesses more frequently, one-on-one, to allow owners to express concerns more easily.

For Vanderhoof mayor Gerry Thiessen, the chamber of commerce has the pulse of the community.

“It’s hard for community to find direction without something that speaks for the business community,” Thiessen said.

Next year’s annual general meeting would be moved to February, in order for the financial statement to be more relevant upon review, and the plan continues for Vanderhoof’s Trade Show to be made an annual event, Von Doellen said.

Director Lonny Wiebe presented that during the 2015 financial year, Vanderhoof’s chamber suffered a net loss of about $7,200 that will be covered by its reserves.