Canfor’s Houston sawmill re-opened Jan. 7 following an extended Christmas shutdown. (Black Press file photo)

Canfor’s Houston sawmill re-opened Jan. 7 following an extended Christmas shutdown. (Black Press file photo)

Canfor back to full production

Company had curtailed operations at all its mills

Canfor has resumed operations at its Houston mill following what turned out to be an extended Christmas shutdown.

The shutdown, termed a curtailment by the company, was in effect at all of its operations at the end of 2018 due to a continuing decline in lumber prices as well as high log costs and a shortage of logs.

Operations resumed Jan. 7 following a Dec. 24-28, 2018 closure which was extended to include Jan. 2 to 4.

“The curtailments have not resulted in any layoffs. We employ approximately 385 people at the Houston mill, including the woodlands team,” said company official Michelle Ward last week.

Canfor’s production output is expected to be reduced by 55 million board feet in the first quarter of 2019 due to the extended curtailment and a reduction in operating hours.

The production cut followed a Canfor announcement it was buying 70 per cent of a privately-owned sawmill company called the VIDA Group, something the company said was to satisfy the demand of its global customers.

“[With] some of that annual allowable cut reductions due to the mountain pine beetle and some of the recent forest fires that we’ve all had to deal with in the past couple of years, the expansion opportunities were certainly limited in B.C., but our customers are growing and we need to keep pace with them,” company president and chief executive officer Don Kayne said at a news conference last year in announcing the purchase.

“This acquisition enables us to secure additional fibre and an operational platform outside of Canada that will allow for the type of growth we need to support our customers.”

Canfor owns 38 production facilities, 21 of which are in B.C.

The Houston facility has been owned by Canfor since 1999 and after an extensive expansion program, was unveiled in 2004 as the world’s largest sawmill with an annual production capacity of 600 million board feet of dimension lumber.

While Canfor has scaled back up, it and other companies continue to bargain with unionized employees in hopes of reaching a new contract.

Members of the United Steel Workers staged a series of rotating strikes throughout the province last year to press for a new contract of wage increases and benefits improvements.

Companies, gathered together in the Council of Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations and the Interior Forest Labour Relations returned to the bargaining table with unionized workers in Kelowna last week.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

K-J Millar/The Northern View
8 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the Northern Health Authority

Since Nov. 27, there have been 191 new cases reported in NHA

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Salvation Army file photo
Salvation Army kettle drive begins Nov. 28

Hamper demand has accelerated this year

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week t

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

Most Read