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Amid challenges, West Fraser says Thank You, Quesnel: A Look Back at 2023

International lumber giant founded in Quesnel still active here
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West Fraser Timber Company decking logs (West Fraser photo)

Happy New Year Quesnel!

As we look back on 2023, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our 1,300 Quesnel employees as well as our many local suppliers, small business partners and the community for all your support and hard work in 2023.

2023 brought its challenges, including sluggish demand for building products as higher interest rates took a bite out of housing demand in Canada and the United States.

Another record wildfire year, combined with a number of new government policy initiatives, continued to put pressure on timber supply in the province, while gaining access to harvestable fibre remained a challenge right across B.C.

Fortunately, the Quesnel area was spared the most significant impacts of the 2023 wildfire season, and kudos to the B.C. Wildfire Service, emergency responders and volunteers who kept people, communities and infrastructure safe while helping preserve the province’s forest resources.

Last fall we made the difficult decision to sell Quesnel River Pulp (QRP) to Atlas Holdings, who are expected to take ownership of the mill under the Millar Western banner early this year. Our Quesnel Sawmill will continue to furnish wood chips to QRP, which we expect to have a long, successful future as part of a company exclusively focused on pulp production.

We are proud to be part of the Quesnel community and to invest in people and projects that support community well-being. We give back through employee-driven fundraising, volunteering and corporate giving. Our employees actively find ways to make a difference including holding an auction which raised over $28,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association of Northern B.C.’s food box program, providing vulnerable community members with nutritious food throughout the year.

In 2023, the Quesnel Community Foundation announced a new West Fraser Community Fund established by a $100,000 donation to support mental health and related community support services. The 2024 grant cycle is now open, and we encourage local groups with specific projects to apply directly to the Foundation.

We are thrilled to sponsor the Lhtako Quesnel 2024 BC Winter Games, which next month will bring young people together from across the province through sport and friendship, and in the spirit of reconciliation. Many of our employees are volunteering and we look forward to welcoming athletes and their families to enjoy the Games and the community we all call home.

As we look forward to 2024, we are celebrating our nearly 70 years as a member of the Quesnel community, and we look forward to a continued bright future together.

All the best for 2024,

Keith Carter,

senior vice-president for Western Canada,

West Fraser

READ MORE: Fraser Lake losing sawmill as West Fraser Timber cuts 175 jobs

READ MORE: Quesnel’s West Fraser shows quarterly loss

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West Fraser Timber Company’s log yard (West Fraser photo)
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Athletes and organizers from the Lhtako Quesnel BC Winter Games community gathered to celebrate a major donation from West Fraser Timber. (Tracey Roberts photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)