The recent announcement regarding the closure of Canfor’s Vavenby mill hasn’t dampened the generosity of its employees, as shown by a recent donation made by the United Steel Workers Local 1-417 to a youth sports team.
Canfor employees held a meeting and barbecue at the Clearwater Elks Hall on Sunday to discuss the difficult situation, but before getting down to business, presented a cheque for $500 to the Clearwater Secondary School’s girls soccer team.
“The crew has already donated about $200 to support the soccer team going to provincials and we wanted to do more,” said Marty Gibbons, president of USW Local 1-417.
“Regardless of this, they’re going to donate another $500 to help the soccer team, (though) we were told the funds may be utilized to support other underprivileged children with sports, but we’re really leaving that up to the school, we’re good with that.”
Darren Coates, principal of CSS and one of the coaches for the girls soccer team, said because the team raised enough to make it to provincials that the money would indeed go into a fund to help disadvantaged kids afford to play in organized sports.
Coates added the donation was particularly humbling, considering the nature of USW’s situation and the reason for the event where the presentation took place.
“It’s generous when they’re all working and employed, but it’s humbling when they’re giving $500 when things are so incredibly challenging for that group right now,” he said.
“It’s just incredibly generous at this time when money’s tight for everybody, so we want to make sure it’s put to good use and it goes to the place where it has the greatest need and stretch those dollars.”
Gibbons said on Sunday that USW was trying to set up a meeting with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, as well as other government agencies, to find support for the workers facing layoffs from the mill’s closure.