An energetic rally by workers in the north-central British Columbia community of Mackenzie has highlighted the desperate situation facing many forestry-dependent communities across the province. Softwood lumber is pictured at Tolko Industries in Heffley Creek, B.C., Sunday, April, 1, 2018. Three wood products operations in Mackenzie closed indefinitely or cut back hours this summer, blaming high log costs and adverse market conditions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

An energetic rally by workers in Mackenzie in north-central British Columbia has highlighted the desperate situation facing many forestry-dependent communities across the province.

Three wood products operations in Mackenzie closed indefinitely or cut hours this summer, blaming high log costs and adverse market conditions.

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill and slowdowns at two other operations, including the Conifex sawmill which is not due to reopen until Sept. 2.

Atkinson says at least another 400 indirect jobs are on the line in the community of 3,500, where there’s also concern for the future of the Paper Excellence pulp mill because it relies on sawdust from the lumber operations.

ALSO READ: State of local financial crisis declared in Fort St. James

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson joined as many as 1,000 people at the Thursday rally.

He said the B.C. government is working closely with Conifex to ensure its Mackenzie sawmill restarts next month with enough fibre to support it and the pulp mill through the winter.

About two dozen mills across B.C.’s interior have declared closures or production cuts this year because of volatile lumber markets.

With more than 20 per cent of Mackenzie’s workforce directly or indirectly affected, Atkinson says the large turnout at the rally doesn’t surprise her.

“This is a perfect example of the community coming to let the province, industry, corporate shareholders, everyone, know that our community matters,” she said.

Donaldson said he made further requests for federal support for hard-hit communities as recently as last week when he attended the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers meeting. (CKPG)

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Andrew Scheer makes campaign stop in Parksville

Federal Conservative leader talks tax cuts, environment

Nanaimo remembers Terry Fox and runs for his cause

Terry Fox Run was held Sunday at Bowen Park

Clippers earn five out of six points in BCHL action

Nanaimo splits with Alberni Valley, beats Chilliwack

Regional District of Nanaimo losing forest, farm lands

Growth strategy report shows mixed results relative to regional district’s goals

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Land commission should have supported Nanoose eatery

Letter writers weigh in on closure of Rusted Rake Farm café

It’s game on as new hockey exhibit fills Nanaimo Museum

Canadian Museum of History travelling exhibit on display until November

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

City buys Five Acre Farm in Harewood for $1.38 million

Agreement made so that Nanaimo Foodshare can use farm property

Seven buildings proposed for waterfront development in Parksville

IAG Developments hosts second public open house to gather feedback

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Most Read