File photo On June 3 Canfor announced the permanent closure of its mill in Vavnby, resulting in the loss of 172 jobs. Canfor has reached an agreement to sell the forest tenure associated with the Vavenby sawmill to the company Interfor for $60 million. Photo by Keith McNeill

UPDATE: 172 job layoffs as Canfor announces closure of Vavenby mill

The wind-down of the operation started June 4

Employees at Canfor’s Vavenby mill received a letter on June 3, announcing the closure of the facility along with the termination of 172 jobs.

“To all USW 1-417 employees of Vavenby, unfortunately we’ve been facing significant log supply constraints in the Vavenby region for some time now and we’ve ultimately determined that we do not have sufficient fibre supply to support the ongoing operation of this mill,” read the letter.

“The fibre supply shortage issue is further compounded by very high log costs. As a result, we’ve made the very difficult decision to permanently close the mill.”

Madeline Capostinsky, who was a planer technician at the mill, said there was an atmosphere of shock when the announcement was delivered.

“Nobody was expecting it,” she said. “We kept thinking we could limp through this; nobody really expected a permanent shutdown. We’ve limped through before and we thought we could limp through again.”

Capostinksky added the mill shut down in February for six weeks, and also for a couple of weeks at Christmas as well as a week or so in April.

The letter employees received went on to say the company’s decision in permanently closing the operation wasn’t a reflection of the employees in Vavenby, but simply driven by the conditions related to the fibre shortage and high log cost, which made the mill uneconomic.

Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

“We deeply regret the significant impact this will have on our employees, their families and the communities of Vavenby and Clearwater. This closure will affect 172 direct employees,” the letter said.

The wind-down of the operation will start June 4 and the dates of termination for employees will be staggered based on their individual roles and take place throughout the rest of June until July 31.

“Once we have finalized the wind-down plan, we will be following up with an individual letter that sets out the specific termination dates for each employee.”

Canfor has reached an agreement to sell the forest tenure associated with the Vavenby sawmill to Interfor for $60 million.

“The BC forest industry has recognized for several years that sawmill capacity must be reduced as the annual allowable cut decreases following the end of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic,” said Don Kayne, president and CEO, Canfor, in a press release.

Merlin Blackwell, mayor of the District Clearwater (DOC), said in a statement that the entire community will be affected by the mill’s closure and the DOC is already working with its regional, provincial and federal counterparts to find ways to support employees facing layoffs.

He noted the community has faced similar situations with big-time employers having long term shutdowns in the past, but admitted Canfor’s permanent closure “adds a new level of seriousness.”

“We have also been in contact with both Canfor and Interfor, and will work closely with them to transition as many people into new opportunities within Interfor’s operations; hopefully industry and government can come together to assist those close to retirement age to bridge the gap to early retirement,” his statement said.

“The Clearwater Forestry Working Group (a standing committee of Clearwater council), has already been working on secondary manufacturing ideas in anticipation of a changing industry, as well as coming up with other ways we can keep jobs in the local economy utilizing the skills of our forestry professionals, even if those jobs aren’t in lumber production.

“Clearwater is a strong community, this will be tough, but we will get through this.”



newsroom@clearwatertimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Making the grade

Borrow Enterprises Ltd. donates equipment and manpower to help Clearwater Ski Hill

Animal Protection Party candidate selected for riding

Kira Cheeseborough said among her party’s platforms, she also hopes to inspire the youth vote

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour heads into third year

Attendees can expect selections ranging from comedic to dramatic to outright astounding

Clearwater RCMP report

Clearwater RCMP responded to 34 calls for service over this past week

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Most Read