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Here’s how many BC sawmills have taken downtime so far


June 4, 2019
By Maria Church
Maria Church

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[This post was last updated on Jan. 17, 2020]

Hardly a week goes by that we’re not hearing of new sawmill curtailments or closures in B.C. We knew it would be a rough year for Western Canada’s lumber producers, but that doesn’t stop us from cringing each time a news release is sent out announcing planned downtime, to say nothing of the direct effect on employees and communities.

For those wondering about the extent of the situation, here’s a map and list of the mills that have been affected thus far this year:

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Closures:

  • Canfor sawmill in Vavenby, B.C.
  • Tolko Quest Wood sawmill in Quesnel, B.C.
  • Tolko Kelowna sawmill in Kelowna, B.C.
  • Norbord OSB mill in 100 Mile House, B.C.
  • Louisiana-Pacific OSB mill in Fort St. John, B.C.
  • West Fraser sawmill in Chasm, B.C.
  • Canfor sawmill in Mackenzie, B.C.
  • Interfor Hammond sawmill in Maple Ridge, B.C.
  • Errington Cedar Products in Errington, B.C.

Downtime:

  • West Fraser Quesnel, Williams Lake, Smithers and Fraser Lake: one week in June.
  • West Fraser Chetwynd: three weeks in first quarter and one week in June.
  • West Fraser Chasm and 100 Mile House: three weeks in first quarter, and two weeks in May.
  • West Fraser B.C. plywood production: two weeks beginning Sept. 16.
  • Tolko Armstrong and Soda Creek: two weeks in May/June.
  • Teal Jones Surrey mills: Four weeks since January.
  • Interfor’s three B.C. Interior mills: unspecified time in May and June.
  • Conifex Fort St. James: Three weeks in February and four weeks in May.
  • Conifex Mackenzie mill: Three weeks in May; two weeks starting July 29, plus an additional three weeks until Sept. 3.
  • Western Forest Products Alberni Pacific Division Sawmill: Closed for a month beginning March 18.
  • Western Forest Products Duke Point sawmill: two weeks in June.
  • Western Forest Products Saltair sawmill: one week in June.
  • Western Forest Products Ladysmith and Chemainus sawmill since the United Steelworkers strike began on July 1
  • Canfor Houston  sawmill: one week in first quarter and an additional four weeks from June 17 to July 12.
  • Canfor Mackenzie sawmill: one week in first quarter and an additional six weeks from June 17 to July 26.
  • Canfor B.C. dimension mills: unspecified dates beginning April 29; two weeks in June at all sawmills except WynnWood
  • Canfor B.C. sawmills, except WynnWood: two weeks from Dec. 23, 2019 through Jan. 3, 2020
  • Canfor WynnWood sawmill: Five days in late December, 2019
  • Canfor Houston, Polar, Prince George and Fort St. John sawmills: week of Sept. 3.
  • Tolko’s Kelowna mill: six weeks from Aug. 6 to Sept. 15.
  • Sinclar Group’s Lakeland Mills in Prince George, Nechako Lumber in Vanderhoof and Apollo Forest Products in Fort St. James for two weeks starting Aug. 19.
  • Tolko Armstrong, Armstrong plywood and White Valley veneer operations for two weeks from Aug. 17 to Sept. 2; Tolko’s Heffley Creek plywood and veneer operation for one week from Aug. 24 to Sept. 2
  • Downie Timber Ltd. planer mill in Revelstoke, from Sept. 3 – 6

Shift/hours/production reduction:

  • Tolko Kelowna sawmill
  • Aspen Planers sawmill
  • Canfor B.C. sawmills in first quarter
  • Canfor Plateau and Houston mills in September until markets improve
  • Western Forest Products Chemainus sawmill
  • West Fraser’s five B.C. sawmill operations, variable operating schedules beginning Sept. 16
  • Canfor Isle Pierre sawmill, effective Sept. 20

If I’ve missed any please let me know: mchurch@annexbusinessmedia.com.

Stay on top of the news at www.woodbusiness.ca, including weekly lumber market reports from Madison’s Lumber Reporter.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this article listed all mill closures as permanent. Some of these closures are indefinite, rather than permanent.   


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4 Comments » for Here’s how many BC sawmills have taken downtime so far
  1. Gt says:

    Maybe if everyone affected by mill closures/curtailments moved to the lower mainland to live in some park they might actually get some attention (just saying)

  2. joan atkinson says:

    Canfor sawmill in Mackenzie is an indefinite closure Not a permanent closure as reported in this article

  3. Ryan says:

    Why hasn’t the price of lumber dropped at the hardware stores? Even though the mills claim they can not make money with the price of lumber being so low? It is a smoke screen. They have closes mills in our small communities and left these messes. They will not sell the plant sites because they have to do an environmental clean out at these plants, it is cheaper for them to keep playing the tax on the property. The other crappy thing is that they hire contractors from out of town to come disassemble the equipment to ship to other mills ( I get that) but they hire out of area contractors and not even giving a few local some work to help with these projects. It is so frustrating with the amount of waste that goes on.

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