The West Fraser Timber Company has decided, due to the mountain pine beetle infestation in the B.C. interior, to shut down its Houston mill before summer 2014.
The Mountain Pine Beetle Plan, released today on the WFTC website, covers how the company plans to remain viable in the wake of the pine beetle decimating available timber, the release stated.
“The three‑part MPB Plan consists of the exchange of certain timber rights which will help maintain the competitiveness and viability of several of West Fraser’s B.C. interior mills,” read the WFTC release. “The closure of West Fraser’s Houston, B.C. mill and the announcement of significant investments in two major mill upgrades in Smithers and 100 Mile House, B.C.”
No specific mention of upgrades to Smithers or 100 Mile House was included in the release, but the number of affected Houston workers was noted.
“Closure of the mill will be completed in the second quarter of 2014 and will affect 225 employees,” stated the release. “Where possible, the Company will be assisting employees to transition to other West Fraser operations in B.C. and Alberta.”
WFTC has been harvesting pine beetle killed lumber for more than a decade and will continue to do so according to the release, but the The MPB Plan, which consists of three parts: “securing an improved long‑term timber supply, the permanent closure of one of the company’s B.C. mills and a capital investment plan to strengthen operations in the province,” has been chosen by the company as the best way forward.