Boundary Sawmills Inc. seeking $1-million for mill payment

The current mill owner, Boundary Sawmills Inc. needs to raise $800,000 to make an impending mortgage payment or risk losing the mill.

Stephen Hill at the Midway mill ribbon-cutting ceremony in April.

Stephen Hill at the Midway mill ribbon-cutting ceremony in April.

While the mill in Midway is in the process of being upgraded, an impending mortgage payment is needed to complete the deal.

A $1-million mortgage payment is due to former mill owner Fox Forest Products by Aug. 31 and current mill owner Boundary Sawmills Inc. (BSI) only has about $200,000 left, thanks to various fees, meaning about $800,000 needs to be raised or else investors could stand to lose money.

“It (the mortgage payment) is to honour our commitment for the (mill) take back that we had in the purchase and sale agreement,” explained Stephen Hill, a local financial planner, 2011 federal election Conservative candidate and one of the people involved with starting up the mill again.

Fox Forest Products declined to give specifics about what would happen if the payment wasn’t met but did elaborate on what its rights were.

“The mortgage is drafted up generally the same as, probably if you had a mortgage on your own house; it’s the same thing,” explained Fox Forest Product’s Director of Operations Quintin Apedaile.

“We would have the same rights as anyone holding a mortgage would and we would just have to determine how to proceed. That’s what our rights would be if it were to come to that. We could foreclose on it or try to negotiate something out.”

BSI President Doug McMynn said that Fox Forest Products could foreclose and that there is also a chance that Vaagen Brothers could step in – which he said was part of the lease agreement – but he is confident that the money will be raised.

Russ Vaagen hadn’t returned a call as of press time.

“I’m not very worried about this whole thing. The mill will be running, the Vaagens will be running it and we’re going to hit the $1-million mark,” said McMynn.

“We’re just looking for people out there to invest and that’s why we went public with it. It’s more about trying to get people aware of the fact that we’ve got to raise these funds to keep the mill in the community as opposed to foreclosure or to the Vaagens.”

McMynn said that Fox Forest Products had been approached for a deadline extension but wouldn’t grant it, while Apedaile said extending the deadline might not be feasible.

“As an organization, we’re not really in a great position to be giving and extension because of the situation we’re in,” Apedaile said.

According to a report in The Province newspaper, Fox is said to be paying interest on interest-free money owed to it by BSI.

Hill said he is taking a proactive stance and has been in Vancouver, B.C. since Canada Day handing out brochures and asking for assistance.

“We’re getting so many people interested, I can’t keep up with it,” Hill said from Vancouver.

“I’ve got several appointments set up with investors who’ve got enough money to provide to us, provided we can make a strong business case and get them all the documentation in time.”

“It’s actually worked out quite nicely and we’ve had interested investors step forward, we just now have to close on the deal and get the cheques,” he said.

Hill said that some notable people have stepped forward but declined to comment on who they were saying that he didn’t want to “rock the boat.”

He also said that support from the Boundary was still being sought as the project is supposed to be from Grand Forks to Osoyoos and the pricing limits for investors have been changed.

“We’ve reduced the subscription limit from $10,000 down to a minimum of $500,” Hill said.

“Those people that could invest $5,000 or $2,500 but didn’t have $10,000 can now invest.”

Hill suggests contacting Midway Mayor Randy Kappes at 250-449-8252 or going to www.savethemidwaymill.com for more information on investing.

Since last Friday, McMynn said that $57,000 has been raised with more phone calls of interest coming in.