An energetic rally by workers in the north-central British Columbia community of Mackenzie has highlighted the desperate situation facing many forestry-dependent communities across the province. Softwood lumber is pictured at Tolko Industries in Heffley Creek, B.C., Sunday, April, 1, 2018. Three wood products operations in Mackenzie closed indefinitely or cut back hours this summer, blaming high log costs and adverse market conditions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

An energetic rally by workers in Mackenzie in north-central British Columbia has highlighted the desperate situation facing many forestry-dependent communities across the province.

Three wood products operations in Mackenzie closed indefinitely or cut hours this summer, blaming high log costs and adverse market conditions.

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill and slowdowns at two other operations, including the Conifex sawmill which is not due to reopen until Sept. 2.

Atkinson says at least another 400 indirect jobs are on the line in the community of 3,500, where there’s also concern for the future of the Paper Excellence pulp mill because it relies on sawdust from the lumber operations.

ALSO READ: State of local financial crisis declared in Fort St. James

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson joined as many as 1,000 people at the Thursday rally.

He said the B.C. government is working closely with Conifex to ensure its Mackenzie sawmill restarts next month with enough fibre to support it and the pulp mill through the winter.

About two dozen mills across B.C.’s interior have declared closures or production cuts this year because of volatile lumber markets.

With more than 20 per cent of Mackenzie’s workforce directly or indirectly affected, Atkinson says the large turnout at the rally doesn’t surprise her.

“This is a perfect example of the community coming to let the province, industry, corporate shareholders, everyone, know that our community matters,” she said.

Donaldson said he made further requests for federal support for hard-hit communities as recently as last week when he attended the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers meeting. (CKPG)

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Castlegar autism workshop helps parents cope with wait times

Kootenay Family Place holding workshop Feb. 1

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

RDKB urges caution when reading into early snowpack reports

Staff say it’s too early in the season to have a strong handle on water flow projections

Treading snowy trails across the Boundary

Before the rain came this week, trails in the Boundary were well-travelled

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Most Read