According to a June 14 news release, the District of 100 Mile House was shocked by Norbord’s announcement that they would be indefinitely curtailing operations at their 100 Mile House OSB mill.
The mill, which employs 160 people, will be ending it’s curtailing operations in August.
“We are highly sensitized to the impacts this announcement will have on workers, families and businesses in our community. We know the forest sector is and has been poised to be shaken up, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure 100 Mile House is resilient as a community, as an economy, and as a workforce. We know that it is going to take the efforts of everyone working together to collaborate around creative and innovative solutions that will help to drive the future of our town. In the meantime, we encourage people to shop local, and really be mindful about helping to support the businesses here who have chosen to invest in our community,” said Mayor Mitch Campsall.
The release states the district council met with provincial bodies regarding support.
“During a meeting with local and regional staff from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, provincial staff shared information with District Council on the province’s Community Transition supports, including consideration and support for impacted workers, the social impacts such curtailments have on the community, and economic development supports to help communities transition long-term into sector diversification opportunities,” it stated.
The province’s Community Transition includes the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Ministry of Advanced Education, Service Canada, the Industry Training Authority, Community Futures, Work BC offices, post-secondary training providers, and others.
The process for Community Transition was initiated at the request by Mayor Mitch Campsall and the council. An initial launch meeting of a Community Transition Team will be scheduled for the near future.
“Short term the District of 100 Mile House will be focusing on building a clear analysis of how the indefinitely-termed layoff will be likely to impact its local labour force and business sector,” reads the press release. “The Community Transition Team’s priority will be to engage with the Norbord company and PWCC Union Local #9 to reach out to workers to ensure they are able to readily access employment support, entrepreneurship and training programs following their lay-off dates in August.
Council also said the two-month advance notice will help them prepare and rally available supports necessary to mitigate the impact of Norbord’s curtailments on the community.
District staff will also be working to leverage potential growth sectors in the community to offset any potential flow of job losses and looking to leverage opportunity from existing growth sectors in the community, including tourism, construction and senior’s services.
“The district is prepared and eager to collaborate sub-regionally with the Cariboo Regional District directors in areas G, H and L, recognizing that 100 Mile House provides both an employment hub and service centre for surrounding areas,” said the release.
The District of 100 Mile House, according to the release, has been positioning itself in preparation for forestry downturn implications by investing in public infrastructure to support resident attraction and retention.