Canfor to shut down Vavenby sawmill next month | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Canfor to shut down Vavenby sawmill next month

FILE PHOTO - Logs are stacked at Murray Brothers Lumber Company woodlot in Madawaska, Ontario on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

VAVENBY — Canfor Corporation has announced they will be closing its Vavenby sawmill in July.

The company says it has reached an agreement to sell the forest tenure associated with the sawmill to Interfor for $60 million, according to a news release issued yesterday, June 3.

“Due to the current and longterm log supply constraints we face in the Vavenby region, along with the high cost of fibre, we have made the very difficult decision to permanently close the sawmill and sell the associated forest tenure to Interfor,” Canfor president Don Kayne says in a release. “The ongoing depressed lumber markets have expedited this decision.”

The news release does not say how many employees will be let go.

“We deeply regret the significant impact to our employees, contractors and the communities and we will be working to support them through this difficult time,” he says.

The B.C. Forest industry has recognized for several years the sawmill capacity must be reduced as the annual allowable cut decreases following the end of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, Kayne added.

Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson says in a statement he was saddened to hear about the closure of the Vavenby sawmill, adding his government will work with Canfor, the workers and the community to "coordinate the delivery of provincial support programs."

"The challenges facing the industry have been building for years and analysts have predicted a reduction in milling capacity for some time, especially in the Interior," Donaldson says in the release. "Declining timber supply - the result of the end of the pine beetle-killed wood, exacerbated by record-setting fire seasons the past two years - has left the industry scrambling to keep log yards full and keep people working. Weakened lumber markets and the ongoing softwood lumber dispute have contributed to this challenge."

"With the recent amendments to the Forest Act (Bill 22), we will also ensure that the public interest is protected when companies seek to transfer public forest tenures," he says.

The Vavenby sawmill had an annual production capacity of approximately 250 million board feet. Following this closure in Vavenby, Canfor will have 12 sawmills in Canada.

— This story was updated at 11:06 a.m. Tuesday, June 4, 2019 to include a statement from the B.C. Forests Minister.

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