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Canfor cancels plans to replace its Houston sawmill

Company says provincial policies make future too uncertain to continue
Canfor’s closed Houston sawmill. It has announced it won’t replace it. (Angelique Houlihan/Houston Today)

Ending months of speculation, Canfor this afternoon has announced it is abandoning plans to replace its closed sawmill in Houston.

“With the policy and regulatory landscape in B.C. continuing to shift, it’s difficult to predict the operating conditions that we will face going forward,” Canfor president and CEO Don Kayne said.

“As such, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our plan to build a new state-of-the-art sawmill in Houston, as we are not confident that an investment of this magnitude can be successful at this time.”

Worries began to grow in the community earlier this spring concerning exactly when Canfor would begin dismantling the mill it closed more than a year ago.

Canfor indicated last fall it would build a new mill and do so on the property containing the old one.

“The ability to reliably access enough economic timber to run our manufacturing facilities is critical for our business,” said Kayne.

“Unfortunately, while our province has a sufficient supply of timber available for harvest as confirmed by the Allowable Annual Cut set by BC’s Chief Forester, the actual harvest level has declined dramatically in recent years. In 2023 the actual harvest was 42 per cent lower than the allowable cut, a level not seen since the 1960s.

“While this decline is partly the result of natural disturbances – beetle infestations and wildfire particularly, it is also the result of the cumulative impact of policy changes and increased regulatory complexity.”

The company is also closing its Polar sawmill in Bear Lake for good.

Kayne called today’s announcement heartbreaking for the company and for the impact on its employees.

About the Author: Rod Link

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