NORTHERN BC - "We're in for some trying times."
That's how MP Todd Doherty described what the sawmilling communities around the region are looking at. At the start of the month, Canfor announced plans to curtail production in 12 BC mills by 10%. On Friday, Conifex announced immediate curtailments and more over Christmas to cut output by 15%. And today, West Fraser Timber delivered a very serious blow to Fraser Lake and Quesnel. The permanent elimination of a shift in those two communities, beginning in the new year, impacting 135 jobs.
"This is going to hit hardest here at home. We have families that are going to be impacted," says Todd Doherty, the MP for Cariboo-Prince George. "There's never a good time for this, but now we're going into the holiday season and there's a lot of uncertainty all over the province.
The companies are citing things like log supply due to two major wildfires, log costs, the protracted softwood lumber dispute and current market conditions. But the MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie has some less-than-kind comments for the lumber giants.
"The forest companies need to be sympathetic to these communities, understand these communities; it's not the bottom line for these communities, it's their life. And for the forest companies to be backing the money that they've made over the last number of years, investing heavily into the southern United States with the profits they've made from British Columbia, I think they owe an explanation to the British Columbia communities that are being affected by this."
In fact, eight days after announcing curtailments in BC, Canfor announced plans to buy a mill in South Carolina for $110 million, which is expected to produce 210 million board feet per year.
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