McBride Community Forest Leverages Jobs

Two small sawmills in the Robson Valley re-opened last week with wood from McBride Community Forest.


TRC Cedar Mill is firing up its saws again, producing cedar products and employing up to 30 workers, Minister of Forests and Range Pat Bell and Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond celebrated last Monday.

“Anytime you have mills re-opening, it’s a good day,” said Bell. “The way everyone pulled together to make this happen, it’s a real testament to McBride’s community spirit.”

McBride Community Forest will provide 15,000 cubic meters of wood for the first year, which will provide enough employment for one shift.

“I know how hard people have worked to make the reopening of TRC possible. Our focus is always on job creation and the addition of 30 jobs will have a significant impact on a resource-dependent community,” said Bond. “It is great to have a positive story about the forest industry in the Robson Valley after the major challenges we have faced.”

TRC Cedar makes use of lower-grade logs that are not sawlog quality that would otherwise go to waste on the forest floor. Lower-grade logs could be those with severe twists over the entire length of the log, or where less than 50 per cent of the log can produce merchantable timber. TRC converts the logs to post-and-rail fencing, gates and shake blocks.

“We use 100 per cent of the log, so absolutely nothing goes to waste,” said TRC Cedar owner Tom Ryan. “We even convert the bark and rot to mulch for use in landscaping, trails and paths – so even the leftover material from these leftover logs is used.”

“McBride Community Forest Corporation is proud to have invested in job creation in our community,” said Rick Thompson, chair of the MCFC board of directors. “Through our ongoing work with the Ministry of Forests and Range, we hope to further expand these types of opportunities.”

Also last Monday it was announced that National Choice Specialty Wood sawmill in McBride has reopened and is providing 10 jobs, thanks to the growing demand from China for B.C. wood products.

“Today’s National Choice Specialty Wood mill reopening is proof that our China strategy is working and paying off for both large and small-sized mills,” said Pat Bell. “This is the fourth mill this year to dedicate a significant portion of its production to the growing China market.”

National Choice Bio Fuels Industries bought the mill assets from Dore River and has hired 10 workers. The mill will produce 25,000 – 35,000 board feet per day, and half of the rough-cut metric dimension lumber is destined for China.

“Signs of economic recovery are happening all over the province, and it is essential that we see that recovery include northern communities like McBride,” said Bond. “Every job matters, especially in areas that have been significantly impacted by the downturn in the forest industry.”

“Opening this specialty sawmill was an easy choice for National Choice,” said National Choice Bio Fuels chief executive Denis Pelletier. “There’s a demand for lumber, a skilled work force and an economically viable fiber supply, and we were able to bring these together to make it all work.”

McBride Community Forest and other local sources will supply volume to run the sawmill. McBride Community Forest is the largest employer in McBride and can harvest up to 50,000 cubic meters per year.

The year 2010 is shaping up to be another record-breaker in terms of lumber exports to China. As of August, more than 1.5 billion board feet have been shipped from B.C. into China, compared to 975 million board feet during the same eight-month period in 2009.

Since November 2009, and with last week’s mills re-openings, a total of 17 mills in the province have announced they are reopening or adding shifts.

Clearwater Times

Published: October 25, 2010 5:00 AM

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