Grayson Klassen, is a process controls coordinator, who has been working at Norbord’s 100 Mile location through Gordon Ross Contracting for the past seven years. In order to stay in the Cariboo, Klassen says he will travel for work if that’s what it takes to stay here. Millar Hill photo.

Grayson Klassen, is a process controls coordinator, who has been working at Norbord’s 100 Mile location through Gordon Ross Contracting for the past seven years. In order to stay in the Cariboo, Klassen says he will travel for work if that’s what it takes to stay here. Millar Hill photo.

Mill closures: Doing what it takes to stay in the Cariboo

“I came to the Cariboo because I love it here”

The South Cariboo is facing a time of uncertainty, mill workers and contractors are still trying to stay strong.

When Grayson Klassen, a process controls coordinator, who has been working at Norbord’s 100 Mile location through Gordon Ross Contracting, first heard the news, he said it didn’t come as a shock.

“I wasn’t shocked, but it was like now what? What do I do? It was pretty scary, initially,” said Klassen.

Even though he wasn’t shocked, he still felt the need to phone his wife so she could hear it from him first before it broke out.

“We had just bought another house and then all of a sudden, it was like oh crap, I am going to be without a job,” said Klassen. “It was scary. You start thinking about what you’re going to do.”

Klassen doesn’t plan on leaving the Cariboo. In order to keep living here, he said he is willing to travel for work.

Read more: Local business owner predicts major impact following mill closures

“I am lucky because I can do my job anywhere but I want to stay here. I like it here,” said Klassen. “I was able to keep my job, but in order to live here I am now going to have to travel for work.”I will probably be away 60 to 70 per cent of the time and the rest will be spent working from a small office inside my house. My biggest fear is being away all of the time – all of the reasons why I want to stay here is because it’s the Cariboo, I want to be able to enjoy that.”

Everyone is in a different situation and the closures are affecting everyone in their own way.

“I can really only speak for myself, but there is going to be some change,” said Klassen. “There are some guys who are very nervous, some that are worried right up until the point of being bitter. You get this range of emotion. All of these people are going to have to do something. Again, everybody’s situation is different. Some people might be in a position where they could work part-time but there is a lot of people that aren’t in that situation. You know this town if you don’t work for the big three – us (Norbord), West Fraser or the government it can be tough.”

Read more: South Cariboo mill contractors working through a difficult time

According to the press release announcing Norbord’s curtailment, the Cariboo region has been under mounting wood supply pressure for the past decade. The curtailment was a result of a shortage in the wood supply and its high costs.

“If there is no wood, there is no oriented strand board (OSB) and if there is no OSB there is no mill,” said Klassen. “If you were to look at Norbord’s history, mills that have been shut down have restarted. It’s a big corporation but they still have a conscious, they understand the effects of this.”

Klassen’s wife owns a small business here in town. He said the mill closures are going to change the dynamic of people who have a bit of extra cash to support local stores. Instead of spending, many people might start being more conscious of how they are spending and what they are spending their money on.

“It’s a tough thing for everybody,” said Klassen. “I came to the Cariboo because I love it here, I’m not sure what it’s going to look like in a couple of years, but I know it’s going to change.”

Klassen made a point to mention how tough the Cariboo is. He spoke about the fires back in 2017 and how the community has been so resilient.

“As tough as it seems and as dark as it seems right now, it’s going to be okay. We are going to work it out.”


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fireworks display provided a colourful and sizzling Halloween for area residents. (Ken Alexander photo)
Ken Alexander: Fireworks provides colourful Halloween

Seven young ladies brought great joy to the residents on Green Lake… Continue reading

The Cariboo Regional District has launched a broadband survey for residents, businesses and organizations. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
CRD launches broadband survey

Aim is to obtain information and feedback about existing internet and cellular services in CRD.

South Cariboo Search and Rescue's Sam Bregman (from left) accepts a commendation for his work on helping to rescue Barry Lannon from 100 Mile RCMP Sergeant Brad McKinnon along with fellow SAR members Val Severin and Blanky McBlankface. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Searchers commended for intensive search

Community pulls together to find Barry Lannon

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Eric Herl, left, and Wyatt Herl installs lights on the Memory Tree outside the 100 Mile Fire Department. The tree is set to light up on Dec. 11. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).
Memory Tree ceremony to be held virtually this year

Residents asked to send in names of loved ones to 100 Mile Hospice by Dec. 5.

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Most Read