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Nechako Lumber in Vanderhoof cuts 60 jobs because of uncertain fibre supply

Nechako Lakes MLA Rustad calls on B.C. to change hostile forestry policies after Sinclar’s announcement
Nechako Lumber mill on Highway 16 west near Vanderhoof. Parent company Sinclar announced permanent production curtailment, affecting 60 jobs at the sawmill on August 2. (Orlanthia Habsburg/ Omineca Express)

Nechako Lumber in Vanderhoof is cutting one of two shifts affecting 60 people as of October, parent company Sinclar Forest Products announced on Aug. 2.

Sinclar said lack of certainty surrounding an economical log supply is the reason behind the decision affecting half of its Vanderhoof employees.

“We are deeply sorry for the impact this decision will have on our employees, their families, and the community of Vanderhoof,” said Sinclar president Greg Stewart.

Stewart added that the industry will continue to be challenged without urgent, and meaningful government action to address the predictability of economic fibre flow in the province.

“This shift-reduction is not an anomaly,” said Stewart. “The problems facing the forest industry in BC are significant, complex, and diverse. They require a cooperative collective response from all governments, First Nation titleholders, stakeholders, and forestry companies.”

Sinclar will work with employees, and the communities of Vanderhoof and the Saik’uz First Nation to make the transition as smooth as possible, the company said.

Operations and production of Premium Pellet, another Sinclar-owned facility in Vanderhoof will not be affected at this time, the company said.

Sinclar’s operations in Fort St. James (Apollo Forest Products) and Prince George (Lakeland Mills) will also not face any changes at the moment.

Today’s announcement follows cuts at sawmills in Merritt, Houston, Chetwynd, Prince George in recent months.

Canfor, the owner of the closed mill in Houston, says it wants to build a new mill there but only if it gets the fibre it needs from the provincial government.

John Rustad, MLA for Nechako Lakes and leader of the Conservative Party of British Columbia said the province’s inability to get forestry permits done is killing well paid union jobs, and independent jobs, all across British Columbia.

“This is wrong. No British Columbian should be losing their job because of government dropping the ball,” Rustad said in a statement.

Rustad whose riding houses two affected sawmills further said, “Sadly, our BC NDP government seems to have forgotten the meaning of the term “workers movement”

“Independent workers and union members — particularly workers in our natural resource industries — are being sold out by a government that is too focused on Downtown Victoria and Vancouver to care about issuing permits to keep British Columbia’s mills open in places like Vanderhoof, Houston, Chetwynd, Prince George, and many others all across BC.”

Rustad is calling on the NDP government to reverse course on its anti-worker agenda.

“British Columbia needs a government that uses common sense and is willing to fight for the well paid union jobs, and independent jobs, that support everyday working families in BC.”

About the Author: Binny Paul

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