Dimension lumber for frame construction is the backbone of B.C.’s forest industry. (Black Press Media)

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

Brent Ross poses with his dog Jack who died over the weekend after asphyxiating on a ball. Ross hopes his experience serves as a cautionary tale to other dog owners. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm man warns others after dog dies from choking on a ball

Brent Ross grieving the sudden loss of Jack, a healthy, seven-year-old chocolate lab

The District of Sicamous is holding a contest to find the best-decorated homes and businesses in town.
Sicamous launches contest to find best-decorated home or business

Entry is open on Sicamous’ website until Dec. 11.

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

An Enderby restaurant and pub has been shut down since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
Enderby pub shuts down after guest reportedly tests positive for COVID-19

The Howard Johnson hotel, restaurant and pub has been closed since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29

Gingerbread creations are wanted for the Arts Council for the South Shuswap’s virtual gingerbread contest. (JarkkoManty/Pixabay photo)
Bake it right: Arts Council for the South Shuswap seeks gingerbread creations

Cash prizes available for different age groups in virtual contest

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mayor Colin Basran at the announcement of the 2021 Tim Horton’s Brier to be hosted in Kelowna on Nov. 21. (Contributed)
Tim Hortons Brier not coming to Kelowna

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Curling Canada to move to hub model, similar to the NHL playoffs

Robert Gibson, born November 24, 2020 is in BC Children’s Hospital. Photo contributed
Princeton baby fights for his life, with parents at his side

A Go Fund Me campaign has been started to help family with expenses

Grapevine Optical was the victim of an early morning break and enter Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Crime Stoppers Okanagan / Facebook)
Collection of designer sunglasses stolen from South Okanagan eye-wear shop

Crime Stoppers is seeking the identity of two male suspects

By this time next year, the BC Green Pharmadeuticals cannabis growing facility in Princeton is expected to employ at least 150 people, according to the owner. (File photo)
Princeton cannabis plant thriving despite lawsuit and bad press, says owner

Company expects to hire 30 more employees in the next two months

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Most Read