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

Increase in Shuswap bear sightings prompts reminder about attractants

Animal-resistant trash bins not sufficient to keep bears out warns Conservation Officer Service

Chef brings farm-to-table approach to new Salmon Arm restaurant

Darren Bezanson opening Bistro 1460 at Hilltop Inn

Gas prices rising across the Okanagan, Shuswap

Prices at some gas stations in the Okanagan sit around 115 cents a litre

Salmon Arm RCMP will be patrolling school zones on June 1 when some students return

Police remind drivers fines for speeding in a school zone start at $196 and range up to $483

Sicamous district office reopening with new COVID-19 policies

The office will be open again on June 1.

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Okanagan toddler airlifted to hospital after suffering serious burns

Vernon’s Advanced Life Support paramedic crew was called to the scene in Enderby Thursday afternoon

Princeton schools ready to open Monday

Parents are must now decide whether their children will go back to… Continue reading

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Summerland businesses optimistic as reopening begins

Businesses make plans for restructuring as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed

Non-food vendors coming back to Kelowna farmers’ market this weekend

The Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market is welcoming back several artisans on Saturday

Improper waste disposal leaves Okanagan worker with serious injury

The city’s waste collection contractor has seen two incidents of improper disposal in as many weeks

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

B.C. tourism seeks relief as businesses wait for COVID-19 restrictions to ease

Mid-June earliest for more in-province travel to be authorized

Most Read