News

Western Forest Products reviews security after Nanaimo shooting

Western Forest Products is assessing its security protocols in light of the April 30 shooting that saw two employees killed and two others injured at its Nanaimo sawmill.

Michael Lunn and Fred McEachern were shot and killed when a gunman opened fire. Tony Sudar and Earl Kelly were injured in the incident.

Kevin Douglas Addison was arrested at the scene. Two counts of first-degree murder are among the charges he is facing.

Don Demens, company president and CEO, said the mill is reviewing its current safety measures. He said standard security was in place at the time of the shooting.

“As you've noticed and as people have noticed, as we've brought operations back, we have added security,” Demens told the News Bulletin Tuesday. “We'll be reviewing our security measures at all facilities and have had experts throughout all the plants, throughout the weekend, and we'll be going through a systematic approach to review security and apply either new standard procedures or technology, where we deem fit.”

Demens wouldn't comment on specifics or whether cameras were on-site prior to the incident or if they might be added.

“We're working through the process right now,” said Demens. “I think the thing you've seen thus far is we have additional security at the gates to provide our employees with that security as they enter the job site.”

Demens also wouldn't comment on whether Western Forest Products would review layoff procedures, stating the company and United Steelworkers' union local are currently focusing on providing support to families and employees.

The mill had a “soft start” re-opening Tuesday with continuing support and counselling sessions for workers to ensure that are mentally prepared to go back to work.

“We are now working with the people and employees at Nanaimo to get them back, again, in an orderly manner, ensuring that their minds are on the job and they can conduct their work safely,” Demens said.

Memorial services for both McEachern and Lunn are scheduled for Saturday.

Lunn's service will take place at 3 p.m. at Generations Church at 1300 Princess Royal Ave. People are encouraged to wear red clothing in his honour. McEachern's service will take place at noon at Beban Park Recreation Complex, 2300 Bowen Rd., according to the United Steelworkers' Nanaimo local website.

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