Fort St. James municipal office. (File photo)

B.C. town declares financial crisis after sawmill closure leaves 230 workers jobless

The District will have a job fair on July 31 to help workers find transitioning jobs

Fort St. James has declared a state of financial crisis after the closure of a local sawmill has left hundreds without a job.

The city issued the declaration at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, and will be in effect until Aug. 15 unless otherwise cancelled or extended by Mayor Bev Playfair.

The Conifex sawmill was sold to Hampton Lumber, and then closed, in June. An estimated 230 people are now unemployed.

People affected now have access to the district’s tax deferral program, food bank, family assistance programs and mental health services.

A job fair will be hosted locally on July 31.

READ MORE: Hampton to buy Conifex sawmill in Fort St. James

Playfair said she hopes the sawmill is rebuilt into a new facility that rehires most of the unemployed residents.

Mayor Bev Playfair of Fort St. James said, “the best thing we want is Hampton to come to town and build a new facility and put most of the workers back to work.”

District staff have met with Northern Health, Chief Alexander McKinnon of Nak’azdli Whut’en, the Steelworkers’ Union, Services Canada and others to determine a plan of action in transitioning people back into the workforce.

“We want the government to hear us loud and clear and pay attention to our community,” Playfair said.

“This didn’t happen yesterday or a week ago, this all started with an announcement from Conifex on Nov. 30 and then we have been curtailing ever since then.”

Playfair said that many are running out of unemployment insurance.

“The last thing we want is them moving out of the community.”


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Casual car show will put the drive into food drive

Port Alberni’s Cars and Coffee will wrap up with a food drive in September

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Port Alberni bands ‘out of the basement’ and onto an album

Two bands, products of the Alberni Valley’s school of rock, celebrate their CD debut

Stephen Novik takes the mic at Words on Fire in Port Alberni

Event takes place Aug. 29 at Char’s Landing

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

Most Read