Nanaimo sawmill slated for closure

NANAIMO – Western Forest Products has announced plans to close its sawmill on Nanaimo’s waterfront by the end of the year.

Western Forest Products has announced plans to close its sawmill on Nanaimo’s waterfront by the end of the year.

Yesterday the company announced the decision to close the mill and move operations to its Duke Point sawmill as that plant nears completion on a $10-million modernization project.

About 60 employees are affected by the move and will be offered employment at the company’s other mills or severance under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement with United Steelworkers, said spokeswoman Amy Spencer.

Lumber production is expected to increase not only at Duke Point but also at the company’s mill in Saltair.

“The investments being made at Duke Point and the consolidation of our Nanaimo sawmill operations are expected to reduce costs, improve our flexibility to produce different grades of lumber and increase our recovery factors from log to lumber,” said Don Demens, president and CEO, in a press release.

In April, two men were killed and two others injured when a suspect opened fire at the Nanaimo sawmill. Kevin Addison, a former employee, was arrested and charged with the crime.

Spencer said the shooting had no bearing on the decision to close the mill.

“This is purely a business decision,” Spencer said.