Neal Kandola presents to Quesnel Council during a Nov. 23 meeting. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Neal Kandola presents to Quesnel Council during a Nov. 23 meeting. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Quesnel value-added mill presents to council

“We’re going to be in this community for a long time,” Kandola Forest Products CEO Neal Kandola said

Quesnel’s city council appeared impressed by Kandola Forest Products (KFP) after a delegation of higher-ups reported on their progress. The company began operating in April of 2021.

Neal Kandola, the CEO of the value-added mill reported KFP has captured a bigger market share than the previous company operating out of their mill ever did.

“We compete globally, and our main competitors are importers, who import the products that we make here,” he said.

Kandola Forest Products operates out of the former C&C mill, producing shiplap and panelling, selling it to big box retailers across North America for do-it-yourself use.

They even have their own printing press, which they use to properly label all products for the stores they produce for.

Kandola’s output can be found in stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

“The biggest thing I wanted to touch with this presentation is our ability to recapture the partnerships that C&C once had,” Neal said.

“We’ve fostered these relationships, and have a bigger market presence than C&C ever did.”

Those partnerships extend to securing the future of Kandola.

READ MORE: Quesnel mill is reborn under new ownership

“When I talk about securing that fibre supply, it’s not just logs,” Neal said.

“We’re looking for partnerships, long-term relationships with mills like West Fraser… We’re going to be in this community for a long time.”

Sales have been strong according to Neal, with over $1 million sold in September. He added the figures for October and November should be even higher, and the company is hoping to expand to match the demand for their products.

Kandola is planning to bring in more labour, new machinery and new products for 2022. Just under 50 people work at the mill right now.

One of Kandola’s goals is to construct what the company called a (Non)Structural Beam facility in their mill. The product would fall under the “mass timber” designation. Mass timber products are made of thick, compressed layers of wood Mass timber and has a lower carbon footprint than traditional building materials.

The province will be releasing a mass timber plan soon, and Simpson said he discussed including Kandola in it with the minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, Ravi Kahlon.

Mayor Bob Simpson wants B.C. to begin using home grown mass timber products for government projects, and hopes that Kandola products might be used in the upcoming renovations of Quesnel’s fire hall.

Mass timber is included in the designs of 11 proposed senior housing complexes in Northern and Interior Health.

“It would be a crying shame if we were in a situation where over the next 10 years 11 senior housing complexes built with mass timber in our area, were built with mass timber from Spain and Germany,” Simpson said, noting the first two mass timber projects in B.C. included products from those two countries.

Simpson added he hoped Quesnel projects could also begin using Kandola products so the mill could show off their finished product within the community.

READ MORE: Court approves sale of C&C Wood Products and Westside Logging in Quesnel

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