(Files by Sawyer Bogdan)
A devastating hit to the District of Mackenzie as Canfor announces the indefinite closure of its Sawmill.
The shutdown comes into immediate effect resulting in a significant hit to the town’s economy with hundreds being out of work.
Prince George Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris said the community is resilient, but they can only take so much.
“A lot of people bought homes and new cars in the last little while thinking they were pretty secure, thinking that Mackenzie had a good fiber supply, and Canfor would be around for a long time, but this puts all of that in doubt.”
“The majority of the people work in the forestry industry there, some of them work at Mt. Milligan Mine, but most of them are in the forestry sector.”
In a news release, Canfor said the curtailment is “is due to the high cost of fibre, continued poor lumber markets and challenging operating conditions that have combined to make the mill uneconomic under these conditions.”
The Isle Pierre Sawmill, 45 kilometres west of Prince George will also be going down to one shift, resulting in 50 to 55 people losing their jobs.
Morris said it was shameful they had not seen any action by the provincial government.
“This is devastating for the community, I am really concerned with the silence of government to all forest communities in this province and why they have not come up Mackenzie and met the folks face on I don’t know.”
The announcement also comes a day after Fort St. James declared a financial crisis due to the Conifex sawmill closure.
Morris added “Canfor is a major tax contributor to the District of Mackenzie so I think they are as equally impacted as Fort St James so we might see a similar thing in Mackenzie.”