Norbord Inc. will be indefinitely stopping all production at its oriented strand board (OSB) mill in 100 Mile House starting in August.
The company’s 100 Mile House location has been under mounting wood supply pressure for the past decade as a result of the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
MLA Donna Barnett called the news a devastating blow to 100 Mile and the South Cariboo.
“It’s time the government stepped up to the plate. We’ve got Bill 22, which hasn’t helped. We’ve got carbon tax, we’ve got fuel tax, we’ve got health-care tax, we’ve got a higher income tax, and you can go across the line to Alberta and they have none of that.”
Barnett added that this indefinite curtailment will affect everybody in some way.
“We’ve lost mills all over British Columbia in the last three months,” she said. She asks the community of 100 Mile House to stay strong during this time and to spend wisely, too.
Barnett has invited any concerned community members to contact her office.
More difficult news in our riding impacting 160 plus jobs. There are a number of factors but lack of a softwood lumber agreement does not help! Almost 4 years and current Liberal Gov has done nothing to resolve this. https://t.co/TUGXylH67e
— Cathy McLeod MP (@Cathy_McLeod) June 11, 2019
According to the June 11 news release from Norbord, this challenge has been more recently exacerbated by the significant wildfires that the province of British Columbia experienced in the summers of both 2017 – 18.
The resulting wood supply shortage and high wood prices have not been supporting the economic operation of the mill at this time.
Mayor Mitch Campsall told the Free Press, this curtailment is going to “cripple” the community.
“It’s a surprise,” said Campsall. “Especially when they’ve had record breaking profits in the last year and a quarter according to them. Again, throughout the Cariboo, we’re looking at curtailments. It’s going to be really harsh for us, small businesses are going to get hurt, really badly.”
The 100 Mile House mill has a stated annual production capacity of 440 million square feet (3/8-inch basis). Roughly 160 employees from the 100 Mile location will be impacted by this curtailment.
“This is devastating,” said Barnett, in regards to the news release. “It’s 160 (employees) direct and probably (more) when you take all the indirect – the loggers, the machine operators, the trucks that haul the logs, the fuel companies, the restaurants, the grocery stores, the schools.”
According to the release, the company will continue to supply its current customers and meet expected future customer demand with production from its 11 other operating North American OSB mills, including High Level and Grande Prairie, Alberta.
“This is a difficult decision in response to extraordinary circumstances,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s president and CEO in a news release. “We have a first-rate team in 100 Mile House and this curtailment is in no way a reflection on our employees, their commitment to our customers and suppliers or the local community.”
Campsall said the Cariboo Region is working together in the event of trying to meet the premier.
“Let’s see what our issues are and how we can resolve some of the issues,” said Campsall. “Because this is an absolute drastic outcome for our community and it’s going to be crippling to 100 Mile and businesses. Not just small business – all business – and the families.”