Dimension lumber for frame construction is the backbone of B.C.’s forest industry. (Black Press Media)

B.C. lumber layoffs aim to stop falling wood products prices

Production cut as North American stud price dips below $300

The latest reductions in B.C. sawmill output may be enough to stop the slide of lumber prices after they hit record highs last year.

Canfor’s province-wide sawmill shutdowns were announced this week as North American prices for spruce-pine-fir two-by-fours and two-by-sixes slipped below $300 per 1,000 board feet, according to the latest figures from Madison’s Lumber Reporter. A year ago the two-by-four price was above $650, and the downward trend has continued since the beginning of 2019.

Canfor’s curtailments take effect next week, with a target of reducing B.C. lumber production by 200 million board feet. Sawmills at Houston and Vanderhoof are shutting down for four weeks, with two-week breaks mills in Prince George, Chetwynd, Fort St. John, Radium Hot Springs and Elko.

The only Canfor mill in B.C. to continue production is Wynnwood in the Creston Valley, which produces high-grade specialty boards used in furniture, siding, fascia, doors and windows and other fine woodwork.

Tolko Industries announced in May it will permanently shut down its Quest Wood sawmill in Quesnel, and Canfor followed suit last week with the pending closure of its Vavenby sawmill near Clearwater.

RELATED: B.C. forest companies get first test of logging licence rules

RELATED: Norbord closing 100 Mile House OSB plant in August

Interfor is reducing operating days at three B.C. Interior mills, at Castlegar, Grand Forks and Adams Lake. Interfor has agreed to pay $60 million for Canfor’s timber rights to Vavenby, to supply logs to its 100-year-old Adams Lake sawmill, but that sale must get ministry approval under the NDP government’s new legislation.

B.C. Liberal forests critic John Rustad said there have been 83 weeks of operational downtime at B.C. mills so far in 2019, as well as the two permanent closures. On top of that, Norbord announced this week it is shutting down its oriented strandboard plant in 100 Mile House in August, due to log supply problems after wildfires and the depletion of mountain pine beetle-killed timber in the B.C. Interior.

“There are possible solutions that government could employ to increase supply to OSB operations like Norbord and make B.C. more competitive by bringing down the highest production costs in North America,” Rustad said.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett called on the province to help the people losing their jobs. The Vavenby mill employs more than 170 people, and Norbord’s mill in 100 Mile House employs 160.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read