Alberni Pacific Division Sawmill, owned by Western Forest Products and located on Port Alberni’s waterfront, will see a one-month shutdown as of March 18. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO

Western Forest Products to shut Alberni sawmill for a month

APD Sawmill employees will be out of work starting March 18

Alberni Pacific Division Sawmill in Port Alberni will be closing for a month starting on March 18. Western Forest Products owns and operates the mill.

“We are temporarily suspending operations for a four-week period starting on March 18,” WFP director of communications Babita Khunkhun confirmed late Friday, March 8.

“This decision is directly related to market conditions. Our APD facility mainly produces products for the Japanese market, so it’s related to market demand for that product.”

Khunkhun said employees at APD have been advised of the shutdown. When asked if there is a solid date for when the mill would restart, she said the shutdown is for four weeks. “We have advised our employees that it will be for a four-week period. If it changes we will advise them at that time.”

Western Forest Products owns another mill in Port Alberni, the Somass Sawmill. The company announced on July 27, 2017 that they were closing the mill indefinitely. Work at the mill had been curtailed since the previous February; it has never reopened.

READ: Somass Mill union says lack of fibre not the reason for mill closure

READ: Somass Mill rally hears of investment interest

The Somass Mill has been a challenge for WFP, president and CEO Don Demens said in a December 2018 interview. “We don’t have enough tenure and enough log supply to support the full operation of both facilities. So we made the difficult decision a while ago to indefinitely curtail Somass.”

He said Western is still using the kilns at Somass as part of its Port Alberni operations.

The company announced last December that they had entered into an agreement with Huu-ay-aht First Nations to buy into a limited partnership.

The purchase has been set up as a limited partnership for $7.2 million, representing a seven percent share for Huu-ay-aht. Assets in the limited partnership will consist of some of Western’s assets in its Port Alberni forest operation, including TFL 44. The deal makes room for Western to sell incremental interest in the limited partnership to the Huu-ay-aht in the future.

Western will still access fibre from TFL 44 to support its B.C. manufacturing facilities.

The December announcement “is the first step toward implementing an innovative new framework for the ownership, cooperative management and operation of forestry on TFL 44 and throughout the Alberni Valley,” Huu-ay-aht lawyer Rob Botterell said at the time.

READ: Huu-ay-aht First Nations purchase interest in Western Forest Products operations

Demens said the announcement with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations provided them with ownership in the tenure and input into its management, while for WFP “it provides certainty and stability for our mills and our employees.”

“With the reduction in the land base here over the last 20 years, there’s not enough volume here to support full operations here in Port Alberni,” Demens said. “In fact, only about 20 percent of the logs that are harvested in the Alberni Valley can actually fit into the mill.

“We import more logs in Port Alberni than go out.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

 

Alberni Pacific Division Sawmill, owned by Western Forest Products and located on Port Alberni’s waterfront, will see a one-month shutdown as of March 18. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO

Just Posted

Wolves not to blame for Island’s deer and marmot populations, says researcher

Forestry practices, not predation, blamed for reduced numbers in prey animals

RCMP identify Sidney bank robbery suspect, believe he is still on Vancouver Island

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

RCMP confirm foul play in death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Police believe crime an isolated incident

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

PHOTOS: You should see what we heard at the Vancouver Island Music Fest

This year’s lineup included Colin James, Tom Cochrane and lots more

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Island man narrowly escapes being run down by his own truck

Saanich resident working on his truck on Darwin Avenue, when it started to roll on him

SLIDESHOW: ‘Lightning’ hits Vancouver Island for annual Sproat Lake regatta

Alberni Valley Regatta Association hosted sixth annual races

SLIDESHOW: Vancouver Islanders gather for classic cars and cool aircraft

Campbell River’s annual Wings & Wheels event held at city’s airport

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Most Read