B.C. invests $6.49M towards wood product manufacturers
December 6, 2023 By Government of British Columbia
New funding for six wood-product manufacturers will grow B.C.’s value-added wood sector, fortifying local economies and creating and protecting hundreds of forestry jobs.
“We are investing in innovative projects that will help our forestry sector get more value and jobs out of the wood harvested in B.C.,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “We’re building a stronger, cleaner economy that creates sustainable jobs and leverages our strengths as a clean-economy leader.”
The Government of B.C. is contributing as much as $6.49 million through the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund (BCMJF) to fund three capital projects and three planning projects. The projects will see wood-product manufacturers grow and diversify their operations by upgrading equipment to support innovation and long-term sustainability, adding new product lines and establishing new jobs while preserving existing positions.
S&R Sawmills Ltd., founded in 1963 and operating several mills in Langley and Surrey, will receive as much as $4 million to support an expansion of operations by installing a trimmer/sorter/stacker line at their Langley-based D Mill. This will help them remain competitive by producing higher-quality wood products, including production of custom-cut lumber using second growth timber. The project will improve efficiency, reduce waste and create 25 jobs at the sawmill, which plays an important role in the value-added forest sector in B.C.
“This funding will be utilized for mill improvements aimed at enhancing efficiency in cutting second-growth logs. The contribution is a testament to S&R’s commitment to sustainable forestry practices and our dedication to creating more employment opportunities within the B.C. economy,” said Jeff Dahl, president, S&R Sawmills Ltd. “By investing in mill improvements, S&R Sawmills aims to not only bolster our operational capabilities, but also ensure the preservation of British Columbia’s old-growth forests.”
Canoe Forest Products Ltd., operating for more than 60 years in Canoe, is receiving as much as $2.25 million to replace its outdated kiln, an upgrade that will improve their long-term viability as a softwood sheathing, veneer and specialty-plywood manufacturer, while protecting 205 existing jobs and allowing the company to diversify the species of wood it processes and reduce its reliance on Douglas fir. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10% through the drying process.
“With many challenges being faced today by the forest industry, it is increasingly important for collaborative and entrepreneurial thinking to ensure a long-term and sustainable future for the companies, the employees and the communities they reside in,” said Nick Arkle, CEO, Gorman Group. “We gratefully acknowledge the support from the province through the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund. It has helped ensure that the Canoe Forest Products operation can move ahead with a project that will improve safety, quality and financial stability, leading to a more secure future for our employees and families.”
These companies demonstrate the important role that both urban and rural wood-product manufacturers play within the value-added forestry sector and supply chains throughout British Columbia. The BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund is committed to supporting and accelerating innovative practices, growth and sustainability in all parts of the value-added forest sector throughout the province.
Four other wood-product manufacturers are receiving funds from the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund:
- Louis Creek: Paradigm Building Solutions Ltd., a prefabricated manufacturer of energy-efficient wall panels, will receive as much as $106,000 for the purchase of an automated saw, resulting in increased output, reduction of waste and creating five jobs for a new product line that includes floor panels and roof trusses.
- Vancouver: BCollective Homes Inc., which designs, manufactures and constructs energy-efficient, passive homes, will receive as much as $50,000 to complete planning to move off-site prefabrication of panels in-house. This would allow them to target affordable housing projects urgently needed in the Vancouver region, while potentially creating 55 jobs through this future capital project.
- Kamloops: Kruger Kamloops L.P. will receive as much as $50,000 to complete an engineering report and drawings required to install a pressure diffusion washer. This potential future capital project would allow them to pursue new, innovative product lines using cellulose and lignin, while protecting 340 existing jobs and ensuring the long-term viability of the mill.
- Kamloops: Thompson River Veneer Products Ltd., which processes low-grade veneer into higher-value products, will receive as much as $30,000 to complete a technical assessment for replacing press platens to increase production capacity and reduce costs, a potential capital project that would see the creation of 21 jobs.
The BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund supports for-profit organizations to plan and launch shovel-ready, high-value industrial and manufacturing projects that bring direct benefits and stable, family-supporting jobs to communities, while driving clean and inclusive growth throughout the province.
“Generations of workers have made a living in the forestry sector,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “Supporting companies to grow their businesses means more workers will have family-supporting jobs, stable employment and a hand in making the materials needed to build homes for families across the province.”
Funding through the BCMJF is part of a series of programs that the province has introduced to support the growth of value-added manufacturing in B.C. In January 2023, the Ministry of Forests introduced a new Value-Added Manufacturing Program to establish a dedicated fibre supply for small and medium-sized manufacturers. The province is working with the value-added manufacturing sector to increase the flow of fibre and find ways to expand local production of high-value wood products. A strong value-added manufacturing industry diversifies the forestry sector, buffering against global market challenges.
Building resilient economies is part of the province’s work through the StrongerBC Economic Plan to build a strong and sustainable economy through clean and inclusive growth. Supporting B.C.’s manufacturing sector helps bring the government closer to its goal of building a more innovative economy for people, businesses and communities throughout B.C.
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