The Western Forest Products Chemainus sawmill is under a production curtailment. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Western Forest Products Chemainus sawmill is under a production curtailment. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Length of Chemainus sawmill production curtailment unknown

WFP says weather and harvest conditions have led to a temporary log shortage

The Western Forest Products Chemainus sawmill is under a production curtailment.

“Log supply is temporarily constrained by weather and harvest conditions which have led to a temporary log shortage,” noted Babita Khunkhun, senior director of communications for Western Forest Products.

The curtailment began last Wednesday, Feb. 2.

“Chemainus primarily processes Western Red Cedar,” added Khunkhun. “There was approximately one million (cubic metres) less cedar harvest on the coast last year than the average between 2015-2018.

“We ran alternate species at the Chemainus mill in 2021 to address chronic log supply shortages. Log supply challenges are also impacting our Alberni Pacific Division mill and Duke Point sawmill where we have also had to adjust operations as a result.”

Khunkhun indicated WFP is working hard to secure supply to operate mills consistently and productively.

United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 spokesman Chris Cinkant acknowledged there have been issues with log supply.

“It’s pushed logging behind, snow conditions especially up-north,” he said. “It just lasted way longer than they thought it would.”

One long-time employee at the mill noted workers coming off day shift were not addressed about a possible return date. The mill normally runs two shifts under full production.

Packaging and shipping continued on day shift this week. The employee expected there would be no more wood to package by the end of the week and shipping could continue into next week.

“There are approximately 20 production guys working this week, everyone else is in limbo as to what’s going on.”

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