Fort St. James municipal office. (File photo)

B.C. town declares financial crisis after sawmill closure leaves 230 workers jobless

The District will have a job fair on July 31 to help workers find transitioning jobs

Fort St. James has declared a state of financial crisis after the closure of a local sawmill has left hundreds without a job.

The city issued the declaration at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, and will be in effect until Aug. 15 unless otherwise cancelled or extended by Mayor Bev Playfair.

The Conifex sawmill was sold to Hampton Lumber, and then closed, in June. An estimated 230 people are now unemployed.

People affected now have access to the district’s tax deferral program, food bank, family assistance programs and mental health services.

A job fair will be hosted locally on July 31.

READ MORE: Hampton to buy Conifex sawmill in Fort St. James

Playfair said she hopes the sawmill is rebuilt into a new facility that rehires most of the unemployed residents.

Mayor Bev Playfair of Fort St. James said, “the best thing we want is Hampton to come to town and build a new facility and put most of the workers back to work.”

District staff have met with Northern Health, Chief Alexander McKinnon of Nak’azdli Whut’en, the Steelworkers’ Union, Services Canada and others to determine a plan of action in transitioning people back into the workforce.

“We want the government to hear us loud and clear and pay attention to our community,” Playfair said.

“This didn’t happen yesterday or a week ago, this all started with an announcement from Conifex on Nov. 30 and then we have been curtailing ever since then.”

Playfair said that many are running out of unemployment insurance.

“The last thing we want is them moving out of the community.”


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

Burns Lake golfers to help end world hunger

Burns Lake residents will bring together charity and golf at the Grip… Continue reading

Houston area ski club proposes new community forest

Morice Mountain has ‘huge untapped potential’

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read