Crews erect the frame for a fabric building that will be part of San Group’s remanufacturing plant, being built beside the Paper Excellence’s Catalyst Paper mill. (JERRY FEVENS PHOTOGRAPHY)

San Group’s remanufacturing plant takes shape in Port Alberni

New sawmill could start up in March, reman plant is behind schedule

San Group’s remanufacturing plant is taking shape at the corner of Stamp Avenue and Roger Street in Port Alberni.

The forestry company already has a sawmill in Port Alberni, and they have been preparing this particular site for a remanufacturing plant, several specialty kilns and value-added machinery.

The frame for the fabric building was most noticeable to the public as it was going up, but it is only one facet of the plan for that site, says Bob Bortolin, vice-president of business development for the Surrey-based company.

READ: San Group ups plans for mill, remanufacturing plant in Port Alberni

Bortolin was in Port Alberni for a couple of weeks to oversee the project, which is slowly progressing despite a stagnant forestry market right now.

Concrete has been poured for an electrical room and transformer base. Technicians from Italy have come to the city to install machinery that were purchased from that country. Work has begun on a finger jointer purchased from Quebec. Another building will hold a saw that can cut a “cant”, or piece of wood sawn on three sides, into complete boards in one cut.

Two dry kilns will be installed as well as two specialty kilns that can do a smaller volume of product with different moisture content or smaller content.

A pole shed will be built later, behind the fabric building and kilns, to keep the wood dry after it comes out of the kilns.

READ: New sawmill is only ‘phase one’ for San Group

San Group bought 25 acres of land from Catalyst Paper in the fall of 2018 in anticipation of this expansion. The original plan was to build a sawmill and the reman plant on the site, to expand their holdings in the Alberni Valley. The public was clear with its dislike about the sawmill being located so close to a residential area, so San Group revised its plans. The second sawmill is being built on the same site as the first one, the former Coulson Mill southwest of town.

“We’re very cognizant of the noise and we’re doing everything we can to minimize it. Also, we’re not going to be running 24 hours a day.” The kilns, which are closer to Stamp Avenue, will emit some steam but no noise, Bortolin said.

The switch has cost the company “a lot of money,” said Bortolin, but the owners didn’t want to wait until the market improved. “With the way the market is, we feel we’re going to poise ourselves that when the market comes back, we won’t have to start building at that time—we’re going to be ready for it.”

The expansion is taking longer than anticipated, Bortolin admitted. “Some of it’s the weather. We’ve got different demands coming from the marketplace, and we’re addressing those. We want to be able to come up with a facility that is manufacturing a variety of products—not just for the Canadian market or the U.S. market, but we’re looking worldwide.”

The mill will also be able to handle smaller trees, which will mean leaving less waste.

The equipment purchased for the new sawmill also had to be re-engineered for a different site. The manufacturers were in Port Alberni last week to inspect the work being done on the mill site and “they said it looks good,” Bortolin said. He anticipates the sawmill could start operation later this month.

Aside from the remanufacturing plant and kilns, San Group has also been clearing the land that surrounds the working part of its new property. Most visible to the public are the trees that have come down along Stamp Avenue, and in the corner bordering Stamp and Roger Street.

Bortolin said many of the cottonwoods along Stamp Avenue were dangerous due to rot, and had to come down for safety. As for the corner of the property, “it was a combination of shrubs and trees. We found a lot of needles in there.”

San Group has built up banks of dirt along the treets and will plant a variety of coniferous and deciduous trees in the area.

“We’re trying to make it look nice down there,” he said. “We want it to look nice. We have clients coming in from all over the world and it’s a showpiece.”

RELATED: San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

ALSO READ: Port Alberni’s newest street gets Nuu-chah-nulth name



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ConstructionPort Alberni

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

 

A digger cleans up after a number of cottonwood trees were removed in a corner of San Group’s property along Roger Street in late February. The ground is full of clay, according to a worker, left over from the tsunami of 1964 that hit the area. (JERRY FEVENS PHOTOGRAPHY)

A digger cleans up after a number of cottonwood trees were removed in a corner of San Group’s property along Roger Street in late February. The ground is full of clay, according to a worker, left over from the tsunami of 1964 that hit the area. (JERRY FEVENS PHOTOGRAPHY)

An artist’s rendering of the San Group lands, with Stamp Avenue running along the top. (SUBMITTED GRAPHIC)

Just Posted

Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions, centre, and councillor Deb Haggard speak with Graham Hughes and others at a protest in front of the Port Alberni Shelter (Our Home on Eighth). Hughes and supporters have been at the shelter since Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
City of Port Alberni calls for investigation into shelter allegations

Former provincial election candidate organized protest in front of PA Shelter

A monument was unveiled during a ceremony in Tofino last week honouring Jo-Ann Fuller and Ivan Polivka. The monument will be placed on Hwy. 4 near Kennedy Lake. (Photo courtesy of Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC)
Somber ceremony held in Tofino to mark 10th anniversary of fatal ambulance crash

Beloved paramedics Jo-Ann Fuller and Ivan Polivka died in a tragic ambulance crash on Hwy. 4.

New Bulldogs forward Oak MacLeod fires a shot on the Grizzlies’ goal during the first period of a preseason game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Tuesday, Oct. 27. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: New guys get game winner for Alberni Valley Bulldogs

Alberni records a 5-4 overtime win against the Victoria Grizzlies

From left to right: Mark Walter, BJ Gillis, Kyle Munro and Danny Gillis of the Alberni Valley Disc Golf Club stand beside a disc golf basket at Dry Creek Park. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Disc golf expands to Port Alberni’s Dry Creek Park

New 18-hole course will be ready to play by spring of 2021

A Trio of Roses (CYNTHIA BONESKY)
ARTS AROUND: Stop and smell the flowers at the Rollin Art Centre

Next exhibit features Port Alberni artists Cynthia Bonesky and Jan Vriesen

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

Police hope the public can help find Hailey St. Claire who has been missing since Tuesday. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo woman reported missing, police asking for public’s help

Hailey St. Claire, 28, was reported missing Tuesday

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read