Dry weather forces shutdown at Somass Mill in Port Alberni

Western Forest Products said shutdown only temporary, and won't affect APD sawmill.

 

Western Forest Products’ Somass Mill will shut down temporarily beginning Tuesday, Sept. 2, due to a lack of fibre. The company is blaming severe fire danger and dry conditions in the woods.

“We’ve had to curtail our timberlands due to the risk of fire,” Western Forest Products’ director of communitcations and government relations Amy Spencer said.

“That has meant a lack of Western red cedar logs to process at the mill.”

The mill employs approximately 60 people, but Spencer didn’t know how many would be directly affected by the shutdown. “It will still be open for shipping and minor maintenance,” she said.

The mill will reopen once the wetter weather returns. “It will restart as quickly as possible,” Spencer said. “It’s dependent on the weather and how quickly we can access the red cedar without risking the safety of our timber operators.”

During the beginning of the recession in 2009, Somass Mill was closed down for eight months, putting around 130 employees out of work; when it reopened in February 2010, only 45 were brought back.

At the time, cedar sales were slumping as the global economy suffered.

Somass Mill at one time employed 1,500 people.

Western Forest Products also owns Alberni Pacific Division Sawmill, but Spencer said APD will not be affected by the temporary shutdown.

“Right now, APD has enough timber to operate and won’t be affected,” she said.

“They process different things.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

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

Just Posted

Family Farm Day in the Alberni Valley goes virtual

Take part in a scavenger hunt for a chance to win a gift basket

LOOK BACK: Port Alberni’s first clocktower

Take a peek at Port Alberni’s history with the Alberni Valley Museum

QUINN’S QUIPS: Reconciliation is only as strong as its partnerships

Bamfield Road deal is an ideal example of the province working with First Nations

ARTS AROUND: Last chance to view First Nations art exhibit in Port Alberni

‘Together’ runs at Rollin Art Centre until the end of September

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

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

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read