Photo Courtesy of West Fraser

West Fraser will be temporarily curtailing production over the holiday period at four sawmills in Northern BC.

This includes 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Chetwynd, and Chasm.

“We’re always concerned about what companies do,” said Paul French, USW 1-2017 First Vice-President.

“Prices were pretty good for a while and there were no complaints. Now that the market has kind of balanced out it’s going to take time for the log value or for government to set the stumpage so I guess it’s a wait and see.”

The curtailments are expected to reduce SPF lumber production by approximately 25 million board feet this year.

“Challenging lumber markets and high log costs coupled with log supply constraints have necessitated this difficult decision,” stated Ted Seraphim, CEO of West Fraser.

General Manager at Williams Lake Lumber Sandor Buchi said they closely monitor the wood markets and regularly assess their operating strategy.

“Nobody can really predict the markets but we got a good base of employees here and we run our mills as good as we can so we’ll wait and see what the markets do,” Buchi said.

The West Fraser operation in Williams Lake will be without production on December 24th, 27th, 28th, and 31st.

“Anytime you’re taking downtime it’s a difficult decision but announcing curtailments during the holiday period generally it’s a high vacation period for most of the employees so we try to minimize the impacts to peoples lives and do it around Christmas,” Buchi said noting that approximately 130 employees at their planer and sawmill will be impacted.

Conifex is also planning on curtailing its holiday production at mills in Fort St. James and Quesnel.

The company ended a two-week 15% production cut on November 26th also due to current logging costs, market conditions, and deteriorating product quality.

– with files from Rebecca Kelli, My Cariboo Now