The future of C&C Wood Products in Quesnel will soon be decided as the bidding process for the specialty mill closed on Tuesday, July 7.
Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson provided council with an update during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 7.
“Today at 4:30 p.m. the bid process closed for C&C Wood Products, so that was a one week delay for those who wanted to put a bid in with intention to operate,” said Simpson. “PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) the trustee will now make a determination based on the liquidator bids which were in 10 days ago and then the operator bids and it is my understanding that there will be a couple of operator bids if not more, they did get serious towards the end.”
The mayor noted the process may be slowed down by a potential Bill 22 (Forest Amendment Act) review should C&C’s forest license be transferred to a new company.
“I have been back and forth with a number of these folks and with PwC, depending on what happens, we did hit a bit of a glitch with Bill 22,” said Simpson. “So Bill 22 is a bill that was introduced by the NDP Government to give (First Nations) communities input into license transfers. It’s only been used twice so far once up in Fort St. James with a transfer of a license from one company to another and one over in the Clearwater area with respect to another license transfer. Because C&C Wood Products does hold a non-replaceable forest license, there will be potentially a Bill 22 review.”
Mayor Simpson said he has already spoken with First Nations representatives and the Cariboo Regional District regarding a potential Bill 22 review so that if it should happen, the process can go forward as quickly as possible and workers who have been laid off due to the mill closure can get back to work.
“I’ve spoken with all the First Nations about that review as well as the Cariboo Regional District because if we do get a potential owner operator we will want that review expedited,” said Simpson. “We don’t want any further delays, we would like to get this mill up and running, to get these employees back to work and in particular to get C&C Wood Products feeding into the market that they feed into so they don’t lose any of that market share.”
The mayor said that he wasn’t sure exactly how long the PwC evaluation of bids would take, however, he was told that a decision should “hopefully” be made by the end of the week.
C&C Wood Products shut down its operation in on May 29, 2020 and the company filed for bankruptcy on June 2, 2020, resulting in the loss of between 100 and 130 full-time jobs in Quesnel.