I am very concerned.
That was Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes’ response when asked if she was worried about the mills in our area in light of the recent mill closures in the north.
“We cannot continue to be the highest cost producers in North America. The government continues to layer on taxes and that is creating, we’re just no longer a competitive market, and this is having a significant impact on communities right across the north.”
Oakes says the pulp sector for example requires a significant amount of capital investment in some of these facilities.
“Companies are having to make the decision do you put that investment of capital into British Columbia, where we are so uncompetitive, the taxation and regulation are so much higher than other jurisdictions. Particularly in our community I am very concerned when it looks like, when we start considering the pulp sector, because our pulp mill treats our waste water in the community, it heats the North Cariboo Community Campus, there are so many aspects that have been built into our community.”
As a community that has faced mill closures itself, Oakes says her thoughts go out to the people that are being impacted by the recent Canfor announcements in Prince George, Chetwynd, and Houston.
“Of course we’ve got the workers but often people forget about the logging contractors and everyone that work and support those mills. I know that there are many people in our region, many of them logging contractors, that are going to be impacted by these closures and of course my thoughts are with all of those families.”
The most recent closure in Quesnel was when C&C Wood Products shut down in 2020, the Tolko sawmill closed in 2019, and Canfor closed its sawmill in Quesnel in 2014.