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.

Just Posted

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone elected to chair CVRD board of directors

Stone speaks on priorities of the CVRD board for his term as chair

CrossFit Ladysmith takes part in CF24 to raise funds for Special Olympics

CF24 puts participants through 24 CrossFit workouts over 24 hours

Updated – Firefighters contain Chilco Road garage fire in Crofton

About 15 Crofton and Chemainus Fire Department members on the scene

Flyers hockey program inducted into Sports Wall of Fame

Junior B teams attracted huge crowds in the early days of Fuller Lake Arena

Northbound lanes re-open along Malahat after small rockslide near Goldstream

Drivers asked to use caution, clean-up crews have finished on-site

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

BC Ferries’ two new hybrid vessels set sail for B.C. from Romania

Two Island Class ferries to be in use by 2020

Distracted driving tickets not for ICBC revenue, B.C. minister says

Minister Mike Farnworth calls SenseBC analysis ‘nonsense’

CN Rail strike and lack of trucking alternatives stoke forest industry fears

Companies calling on the federal government to ‘do everything in its power’ to end the strike

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils new Liberal cabinet

Pivotal role in his new cabinet for a minority-government era goes to Chrystia Freeland

B.C. mom, kids on bike turned away from Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

B.C. woman puts call out for 10,000 personal, heartfelt Christmas cards for the homeless

Christmas Card Collective enters into third year of making spirits bright

No turn signals, double-parking among top concerns for B.C. drivers: poll

Two-thirds of B.C. drivers said that not using turn signals was their biggest pet peeve

1 dead, 2 seriously injured in crash with elk on Hwy. 18 in Cowichan

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were called to the scene at about 8 p.m. Tuesday night

Most Read