Canfor announced Tuesday (Feb. 15) that they are permanently reducing production capacity at the Plateau sawmill in Vanderhoof which will affect 70 employees at the facility, and is expected to take effect at the end of the second quarter of 2022.
In a news release, company officials said the reason for this decision is the devastation caused by the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation and other constraints on the timber harvesting land base.
The reduction in production capacity will be done through a partial plant closure and the elimination of one of the three production lines at the mill.
Officials said impacted workers will be offered employment opportunities at other Canfor locations along with relocation and transition support.
“As the allowable annual cut has decreased in the region, it is necessary to resize the facility to align with the sustainable fibre supply,” said Don Kayne, president and CEO for Canfor.
“We will work to minimize the impacts this decision has on our employees, their families, our contractors and the community.”
The company is going to set up a community support fund and said they will work with the District of Vanderhoof to identify projects and initiatives to support the community through this transition.
Additionally, Canfor is investing $14 million in Plateau to enhance manufacturing flexibility and efficiency of the two remaining production lines.
Once the capital investment is complete, and one of the production lines is closed, Plateau’s annual production capacity would be reduced by 150 million board feet.
Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen said there are two sides to this announcement. “We ache for the 70 people who will lose their jobs. Our hope is that they will be able to find other jobs within the mill. But the reinvestment is encouraging. It helps us to feel some sense of longevity in the mill moving forward.”