A company looking to add value to forestry products and use kilns that haven’t been used in years got a letter of support from council July 24 for their project.
Jonathan Carruthers and Rodney Arnold of Forwood Products told council Terrace is the place they chose to start their project after looking around the province during their research of the forest industry in the last year.
“People up there have a real can-do attitude,” said Arnold, referring to what they were told about Terrace.
The goal is to create a value-added product for the wood industry and they found out about two medium-sized kilns here that have been inactive for the last 16 years and they want to get them up and operating again, said Carruthers.
“We visited many sawmills in the area and a custom kiln drying service would be synergetic to their operations,” said Carruthers.
Wood cut here leaves the area green.
Seventy-five per cent of the wood cut here is hemlock, which has a high moisture problem, making you more a water hauler than a wood hauler, he explained.
“We can dry it down to 10 per cent,” said Carruthers, saying that meant a huge weight reduction.
“There’s such a large demand if we do get [the kilns] up and running, we will have to increase our capacity,” he added.
Wood could be made into products here that would be shipped out and assembled in other countries.
If they can get the kilns up and running, they can create jobs for Terrace and the region, said Carruthers.
Forwood is asking for a letter of support from council not only for opportunities that create and keep wood here but to create opportunities for entrepreneurs in the area, he said.
“If wood can be kept here, it can be manufactured here; if it’s shipped out green, then it will never come back,” said Carruthers.
He said they’ve made many connections with people and have spoken to the province, the feds, and everyone has been supportive, including Skeena MLA Ellis Ross and Skeena-Bulkley Valkey MP Nathan Cullen.
They’ve also spoken to Kitsumkalum and Kitselas, he added.
Once the kilns are running, it would mean four to six jobs and if they increase capacity, that could double, plus there’s the forestry side of it as well, said Carruthers.
They’re thinking 50 full-time jobs in a three year period of getting it rolling and that’s not just on the factory site and floor but others such as marketing and logistics.