Errington Cedar Mill is open and has started to process lumber. (Michael Briones photo)

Errington mill fires up again as family reclaims dad’s legacy

90% of laid-off staff hired back as kids relaunch Errington Cedar Products

An Errington mill, which shut down after 30 years of operation in December 2019, has fired up again.

Ninety per cent of the laid-off staff were rehired at Errington Cedar Products, and co-owner Steven Orcutt called day one “positive.”

Orcutt’s late father built the mill and he owns the property with his siblings. After it underwent foreclosure in October, it eventually went to auction. Orcutt said after going back and forth, he decided on the day of the auction to buy it — he teamed up with co-owners Gus Sangha and Bob Aulakh to make it happen.

READ MORE: Errington mill closes, approximately 50 workers lose their jobs

“We actually waited right to auction day, me and Gus and Bob all sat down and on auction day we said, ‘well, let’s just do it,’ so we ended up buying it all back,” said Orcutt. “My sister and I were going to buy certain pieces back so that we could do kind of our own thing, on a smaller version, and then when two other partners came in we decided, we might as well buy it all and start over.”

When the mill closed, it was one of many. The B.C. forest industry has dealt with a series of challenges related to low lumber market prices, the mountain pine beetle infestation and wildfires.

However, Orcutt said he feels optimistic. Rather than sticking with western red cedar and yellow cedar products, they’ve made the move to branch out, and he feels hopeful about the direction they’re taking.

“We are not holding ourselves to any certain species, we’re starting on hemlock, we’re starting on stuff that we have sales for,” he said. “And we’ll take it from there, but we are going to be cutting all species… we have some new customers.”

Orcutt said he thinks his dad would be happy to see the mill running while still in the family.

“I think the first thing he’d say is, ‘really, you want to be a sawmiller?’” he said, while laughing.

RELATED: San Group buys specialty sawmill in Port Alberni

Liana Orcutt, his sister who has been involved in running the mill since 1994, chimed in.

“My dad is probably watching us, he’s probably got a thumbs up,” she said.

“My dad was all about his crew and his people, he treated everyone like his family… he’s probably smiling.”

For more news from the Island and beyond delivered directly to your email inbox, click here.

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

BusinessParksvillequalicum beach

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Beefs & Bouquets, May 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

100-pound gargoyle stolen from backyard in Nanaimo’s south end

RCMP asking for any information about the statue’s whereabouts

Helicopter company helps Nanaimo couple get married, socially distanced on a mountaintop

West Coast Helicopters lifts wedding onto Mount Cokely after COVID-19 cancelled previous plans

Nanaimo senior who was excessively speeding says her vehicle shouldn’t have been impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

OPINION: Another world is possible as we emerge from pandemic

Nanaimo city councillor Tyler Brown says resiliency starts at the community level

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

Nanaimo man scores viral hit with stop-motion tribute to ‘Schitt’s Creek’

Todd Cameron used vintage Fisher Price toys to create one-minute music video

Most Read