Mill closures will increase raw log exports

Recently Western Forest Products on Vancouver Island announced that they are indefinitely curtailing their operation at Ladysmith sawmill. This follows on the heels of an earlier announcement this year of a closure at their Nanaimo mill. So you may ask “ why would this matter to those of us in the North?”

Western is the largest tenure holder on the Island with some 6 million cubic metres of wood. With the current legislation in this province, tenure holders are able to ship “excess” logs out of province. Closing two more viable mills on the Island enables Western to ship even more “excess” raw logs overseas. Closing these mills means there are less good paying jobs buying goods in the local economy, less government revenues (taxes), and less residual chips in an already tight fiber market for Island pulp and paper mills. Less fibre supply means prices for the fiber goes up putting cost pressures on these mills.

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We need to tie these “excess” raw logs to our communities as these logs are our resources and our future. These resources need to be milled in BC to better our province. We need to expect more from these companies and from our provincial government.

Submitted on behalf of the membership of PPWC Local 9.

Chuck LeBlanc

Prince George

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