Canfor CEO meets with council

Houston council met with Canfor CEO Don Kayne in Houston last week Monday to discuss their plans for Houston.

Houston council met with Canfor CEO Don Kayne in Houston last week Monday to discuss their plans for Houston.

Kayne announced last week Monday that, subject to the completed labour agreement with United Steelworkers, Canfor is planning to invest $36 million to upgrade the Houston sawmill.

“It just shows that they see Houston as a flagship mill… they’re investing, their future is here, so that’s good,” said Councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld.

Deputy Mayor Shane Brienen said it’s tough to say how he felt about the announcement.

“It’s tough [because] whenever they upgrade, it means that a few jobs will be lost, but then it makes them more competitive,” Brienen said.

He said that during the previous economic downturn, Houston Canfor was able to work through most of it because of their efficiency level, while a lot of other mills were shutting down or taking long downtime periods.

“It’s better if you’re more efficient.

“I would say overall [the upgrades are] probably a good thing. It’s not very nice when you lose a few more jobs, but it’s just the nature of how the industry’s going right now,” he said.

When asked whether Kayne said jobs would be lost with the upgrades, Brienen said no.

“They talked about the money they’re putting in,” he said.

“Usually when someone improves efficiency, it means layoffs [but] I can’t speak for Canfor,” Van Barneveld said.

He said the meeting was more to connect with Canfor in the wake of the HFP closure announcement and start a dialogue with them.

“We just wanted to catch up with Canfor and hear from their end what their plans were going forward,” Brienen said.

“We talked about the extra volume they had and what they plan to do with that and it sounds like they plan to process it at the Houston mill,” Brienen said.

He said one concern council raised was for the local logging contractors with HFP closing.

“There’s all those loggers, and there is going to be less wood for them to log, so we asked [Canfor] what they’re going to do there.

“We expressed on our side that the sooner we heard, the nicer it would be for our community because of the uncertainty,” Brienen said.

Brienen said it seemed that the delay in information is not because they didn’t want to let people know, but it’s that they are still ironing out their plans.

“We’re hoping that as soon as they know, they’ll let us and the loggers know,” he said.

Van Barneveld said they also talked about the Competition Bureau, but Kayne didn’t know the specifics about the process.

“I’m surprised that nobody really knows about this process,” he said.

He says they also confirmed that Canfor would be willing to invest in Houston community projects.

Van Barneveld says it seems decisions on project selection is largely made by local managers and interested groups can learn about Canfor’s community support and find an application form on their website, at

Reports say that over 90 percent of all United Steelworkers in the Canfor plants combined, voted no to the proposed labour agreement.

For more see next week’s Houston Today.


Just Posted

U.S. consulate general to visit Northwest

Trip part of the region’s first-ever pop-up consul for American residents

Houston Flyers bring home bronze

The Houston Flyers peewees were off to Smithers last weekend and came… Continue reading

New Cottonwood Manor units nearly ready

Sixteen units replace ones condemned several years ago

Houston celebrates International Womens Day

International Women’s Day March 7 was celebrated by 102 registered guests who… Continue reading

Houston’s woman of the year

International Woman of the year event was held last Thursday in Houston.… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Most Read