San Group has begun landscaping the perimeter of its property at the corner of Stamp Avenue and Roger Street in Port Alberni. The forestry company is building a remanufacturing plant at the site, beside Paper Excellence Canada’s paper mill.
San Group owners Kamal and Suki Sanghera were in Port Alberni on Friday, April 24 to oversee planting and progress at the reman site, among other tasks.
Landscaping began a few months ago when San Group arranged to cut down several cottonwood trees along its property line on Stamp Avenue, and some maples and shrubs in the corner with Roger Street. Kamal Sanghera said they took down approximately 20 cottonwoods and will be planting in behind the remaining trees.
Bob Bortolin, vice-president of business development for San Group, said in March the trees were removed because they were rotten and in danger of falling down. The corner area was cleared out of shrubs and garbage like used syringes, he said.
San Group was forced to bring in contractors from out of town to complete the work because no Port Alberni-based company was available, and the planting window is shrinking, Sanghera said. He admitted that the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout have slowed down development at both the remanufacturing plant site and the second mill at Coulson Sawmill, which San Group also owns.
“The weather right now is in our favour, so we’re trying to do things a lot quicker. Within two weeks you will see the whole site lined with trees.”
Landscaping has always been part of the development plan that includes the reman plant, kilns and other specialty equipment, Sanghera said. He estimates 600 trees and shrubs will be planted around the site by the time the whole plan is complete. The plan will cost approximately $250,000.
“It’s not just a welcome for the people of Port Alberni,” he said of the feature corner. “It’s a welcome for us too. We are an international company.
“The tree is our life. We cut one, we plant three.”