Paper Excellence Canada will be investing $13 million in its Port Alberni paper mill to streamline production of food-grade paper. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Paper Excellence Canada will be investing $13 million in its Port Alberni paper mill to streamline production of food-grade paper. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Paper Excellence invests $13M in upgrades for Port Alberni paper mill

Project will see paper mill increase production of food grade paper

Paper Excellence Canada is investing $13 million in upgrades to its Port Alberni paper mill. The move will allow the company to diversify into unique food grade papers used by restaurants and food preparation enterprises.

“With the help from the leadership of B.C.’s government, we are very excited to invest in a winning project like this at Port Alberni; a mill that supports over 300 jobs,” said Patrick Corriveau, vice-president of Paper and Packaging at Paper Excellence.

The project will improve production processes and allow the company to increase capacity of its products. Paper Excellence will upgrade both of the paper machines still operating at the Port Alberni mill to make food grade paper at the same time.

“We’re exceptionally excited,” said Marc Bodin, general manager of the Port Alberni plant. “This demonstrates PE’s commitment to making Port Alberni a viable operation going forward. It provides job security for the people who work here and helps us be more competitive with the new products we will be producing.”

This is the largest investment in the paper mill since 2008, said Bodin, who has been working here since 2010.

“It’s something that’s been developed over the last two to three years and it’s starting to grow,” Bodin said. For years the company has made its money from making newsprint for newspapers, and glossy paper for flyers and magazines like Rolling Stone. When that business began to decline, the company started looking to diversify. They are able to make paper with a wax coating or meld paper with an aluminum coating to create a pouch, for example.

Engineering for the project will begin shortly, and Paper Excellence anticipates the upgrade will be completed in the latter half of 2021.

The investment is a boost for the city’s economy, says Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions. “As part of council’s Corporate Strategic Plan to encourage investment and sustainable growth we congratulate Paper Excellence and their employees for their dedicated work in developing the proposal for this investment and their steadfast belief in the mill and our community,” Minions said in a statement.

The move also shows how much the company is invested in the forestry industry, said Karrine Conroe, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “A thriving and diverse forest sector with sustainable jobs is a key part of B.C.’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and beyond.”

“Forestry has been at the heart of the economy in the Alberni Valley, on Vancouver Island and in B.C. for generations,” said Josie Osborne, NDP MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “Paper Excellence’s investment in its Port Alberni mill demonstrates its confidence in the province’s forest sector and contributes to stability and security for the local families whose livelihoods depend on it.”

Bodin said Paper Excellence gets some of its fibre from San Group, which is building a remanufacturing plant on property that was formerly part of the paper mill. San has three other mills elsewhere in the Alberni Valley. “We’re excited the San Group is investing in the Valley and increasing their lumber capacity. Our fibre comes from sawmill residual—the waste that comes from sawmill—for processing facilities, so more lumber means more possible (wood) chips for us.”

San Group owner Suki Sanghera was one of the first to congratulate Paper Excellence on social media. “Nice to hear Port Alberni coming back,” he said.

While this is the largest investment Paper Excellence Canada has made at the Port Alberni mill since its purchase a year and a half ago, former owners Catalyst Paper made multiple multi-million-dollar investments in the facility between 2001 and 2014. Some of those projects included building a crumb dip as part of the crumb kraft project that allows the company to transfer kraft pulp from its Crofton mill to Port Alberni in crumb format rather than sheets; increasing the TMP capacity so they can produce more tonnes of TMP pulp out of the same system, and modifying instruments and paper forming section of one of the paper machines.

Paper Excellence was considered an essential service during the COVID-19 business shutdowns, so employees continued to work through the pandemic pause, Bodin said. The paper mill will be running right through Christmas—no break this year, he added.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Business and IndustrialforestryPORT ALBERNI


Paper Excellence Canada’s Port Alberni manager Marc Bodin holds some of the different food-grade paper that is produced in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Paper Excellence Canada’s Port Alberni manager Marc Bodin holds some of the different food-grade paper that is produced in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Marc Bodin is general manager of Paper Excellence Canada’s paper mill in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Marc Bodin is general manager of Paper Excellence Canada’s paper mill in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Just Posted

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) were deployed to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device on Jan. 20. (Google/Screencap)
UPDATED: Bomb disposal unit still determining nature of suspicious device found on Salt Spring Island

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

The Rogers Creek Trail main trailhead is located on the Redford Extension in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hiker rescued after cold few hours in the bush outside Port Alberni

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad said they receive frequent calls for people lost on this trail

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Hecht Beach cabin in ashes. (Submitted)
Beloved secret cabin lost to fire on the North Island’s west coast

The trappers cabin was shared with locals, but kept mostly secret

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Most Read