Canfor’s decision to replace its aging sawmill here with a $200 million facility will place the community on the footing it needs to diversify and expand the local and regional economy, the District of Houston council said Sept. 14.
And in welcoming the news, the council says it will continue to work with others to support the community and its residents during the planning and construction phase estimated to take anywhere from 28 to 32 months.
The closure of the current facility in early spring and loss of more than 300 jobs brought on “significant challenges for Houston families and businesses,” the statement indicated.
“We extend our deepest appreciation to our residents and businesses for their resilience, patience and fortitude while Houston continues to navigate extremely challenging times before we receive the benefits from a new mill.”
The statement added that the council and District held numerous meetings with the premier, cabinet ministers and others to press the case for assistance.
“These discussions have generated further optimism about the future of Houston and how we can contribute to the regional and provincial economies,” the statement indicated.
“We believe these conversations have also elevated the platform for further discussions regarding the economic future of forestry communities in B.C.”
Mayor Shane Brienen noted that this is not the first time the community faced a significant blow to its economy.
“Houston has gone through two mine closures and one other mill closure. All of those were tough for the community but this has been the most difficult,” he said.
“We were optimistic about a positive investment decision because of the advantages we know we have, and we are grateful that Canfor and others can see Houston’s strategic advantages.”