WFP Ladysmith Division is having production curtailed until at least May 21. (Cole Schisler photo).

Ladysmith sawmill curtails work for a minimum of two weeks

Western Forest Products Ladysmith Sawmill temporarily idled due to a lack of properly sized logs

Approximately 80 workers at one of Ladysmith’s two waterfront sawmills will remain idle until at least after the Victoria Day long weekend.

Work was curtailed at Western Forest Products Ladysmith Sawmill on Monday, May 6 in a shutdown expected to last two weeks.

Babita Khunkhun, senior director of communications for WFP said the curtailment was due to a lack of logs that fit the Ladysmith mill. Khunkhun said the shortage was driven in part by increased competition for small logs from pulp companies.

“We recognize that this decision impacts our employees but the log supply challenges make this unavoidable. We will be working to mitigate impacts on employees, including looking to fill vacancies at other facilities where opportunities exist,” Khunkhun said.

RELATED: Ladysmith sawmill operations suspended due to log shortage

While Khunkhun said the curtailment is due to a shortage of logs, Public and Private Workers of Canada Local 8 representative and Ladysmith plant chair Adrian Soldera said the union was told the curtailment was due to increased logging costs and stumpage fees from the government.

“Our mill is buying 20 percent of our logs from the open market and those costs are increasing from the pulp mills buying all that wood,” Soldera said. “We were told that the increased costs due to the stumpage rates were part of the reason why we were shut down. They said it’s cheaper to pay the penalty than to get the logs out of the bush.”

RELATED: Western Forest Products to shut Alberni sawmill for a month

All WFP mills are in contract negotiations this year. Contracts for the Cowichan Bay, Saltair and Duke Point mills are up in June. The contract with Ladysmith mill expires in December. The current curtailment may or may not have an impact on those negotiations.

“I’m not going to say that’s true or not. Certainly if they’re saying it’s logging and it’s market conditions, then that’s because that we can’t operate the way we want to,” Soldera said. “We haven’t started negotiations yet, so I don’t want to surmise that.”

RELATED: Cowichan Bay sawmill to shutter operations for 2 weeks; union sees it as bargaining tactic

Soldera said he was told they operations would resume on May 21.

“We were told it would be two weeks,” Soldera said. “We don’t know if that’s the case or not, but that’s what we were told.”

Just Posted

Nanaimo city councillors to hold first e-town hall meeting of their term

Meeting will take place May 23 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Editorial: Homelessness task force has to be more than misdirection

Task force won’t be able to address all the challenging issues that come before Nanaimo council

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Nanaimo Heritage Festival helps highlight the long weekend

Parade and family activities took place downtown today, May 19

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo accessible to all abilities

Harbour City Slam play day introduced newcomers to the sport

Speed limit lowered at Departure Bay Beach

Speed limit reduced to 40 km/h until the fall

District of Lantzville making changes around how it spends surplus money

Changes would ‘hamstring’ council’s ability to manage money, argues councillor

Nanaimo outdoor enthusiasts petitioning as military cracks down on trespassers

Canadian Forces announces it is enforcing the boundaries of its weapons range on Westwood Ridges

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Most Read