PowerWood Corp. officially opens new mill in Agassiz, BC
By PowerWood Corp.
By PowerWood Corp.
PowerWood Corp., a British Columbia-owned and operated forest company that specializes in custom cedar products, yesterday held a grand opening ceremony at its new mill in Agassiz, located on the traditional territory of the Cheam, Sts’ailes, Sq’éwlets and Seabird Island people.
Led by PowerWood’s general manager, Jake Power, the event featured a virtual appearance by the Hon. Katrine Conroy, B.C.’s Minister of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development.
“On behalf of PowerWood Corp.’s employees, management and ownership group, I sincerely thank Minister Conroy for joining us today to mark this important milestone in our company’s history,” said Power.
“The minister’s participation is especially appreciated because it was her government’s policies – specifically, the implementation of new restrictions on raw material exports – that laid the foundation for PowerWood’s decision to invest $25 million in our new Agassiz mill.”
In January and June 2020, the province passed two orders-in-council that amended the Manufactured Forest Products Regulation (MFPR), with the twin aims of assisting B.C. mills and workers to obtain greater access to trees and logs (fibre), and promoting greater ‘value-added’ to provincial forest products.
“PowerWood’s expansion is a great example of how the B.C. forest industry is transforming from a sector focused on high volume to a sector focused on high value,” Minister Conroy said. “This shows how policy combined with business innovation can lead to more jobs for British Columbians, which is really what we’re celebrating here today.”
“The impact of those regulatory changes was to enhance PowerWood’s access – indeed, all provincial forest companies’ access – to fibre,” said Power.
“In turn, that enhanced access gave our company the confidence to invest $25 million in this new Agassiz mill and to prepare to more than double our workforce in the coming years from the current 30 employees to between 60 and 100.”
Founded in Coquitlam in 1995, PowerWood moved to a five-acre site in Surrey in 2002. Nearly two decades after that expansion, the company now is moving to a new 12.2-acre facility located in the eastern section of the Fraser Valley.
Several local dignitaries also attended or participated in the grand opening, notably Kelli Paddon, the local MLA for Chilliwack-Kent. Others included Dan Coulter, MLA for Chilliwack, Chief Andrew Victor of the Cheam First Nation, Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission, Kent’s Mayor, Sylvia Pranger, Brad Vis, MP for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, Garry Begg, MLA for Surrey-Guildford, Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, and Megan Dykeman, MLA for Langley East.
Also joining the ceremony virtually were the Honourable George Chow, Minister of State for Trade, and Roly Russell, the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development.
The full opening ceremony can be watched on YouTube.