Coulson Forest Products has been sold to the family-run San Group of Companies based out of Surrey.
Wayne Coulson, president and CEO of the Coulson Group, will stay on as an advisor but said his main focus now is on aviation.
“We’re to a point now where we’re so heavily involved in the world market of firefighting it just needs my time and direction,” Coulson said. “All the experience I’ve learned over time here in the lumber world I’m now putting that experience to work in the world of wildfire.”
Coulson Forest Products was founded in 1960 by Cliff Coulson. The mill acquired its first forest license in 1972 in Toquart Bay, and its second license in 1984 and formed a joint venture company with the Ehattesaft Band called Hecate Logging. Wayne Coulson moved into the position of general manager to oversee logging operations in also in 1984.
Coulson said the San Group works with the same Vancouver-based company—Hampton Lumber—that the Coulson group did.
“Hampton has been renting our mill for the last four years and the majority of the volume that we cut in our mill has been shipped to Vancouver to the re-manufacturing plants,” Coulson said. “The product has been re-manufactured there and what [San Group] did is came in and bought the mill and now they’re going to be doing the bulk of the manufacturing over in Alberni, so they’re actually going to be importing lumber into the community to re-manufacture it and adding a second shift on the re-manufacturing facility.”
The mill currently has close to 70 employees which Coulson said should grow to about 85 or 90 within the next 90 days, once the new owners take over.
“They’re going to bring reinvestment back in and for us as a small business it’s hard because we compete for capitol, so while we want to do things in aviation, the lumber manufacturing needed to continue to upgrade,” Coulson said.
In addition to focusing on aviation, Coulson said they are rolling out a new ice blast technology for cleaning.
“We’re kind of moving on to fire and ice. That’s kind of where we’re focusing on right now is those two parts of the business—aviation and cleaning technology,” he said.