TERRACE mayor Dave Pernarowski is looking forward to the resumption of work at Skeena Sawmills now that it is being sold to ROC Holdings Ltd., a subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate.
Pernarowski, who met with ROC officials last week, said the company anticipates
starting to log in the summer to provide material for chips to send south.
There’s been no activity on the forest tenure that was also sold to ROC since West Fraser substantially shut down operations at the mill in 2007.
“Any time you see 40-plus jobs initially, that’s a very good thing for Terrace,” said Pernarowski of plans to run a debarker and log chipper.
Eventually, added the mayor, ROC wants to resume cutting lumber at Skeena Sawmills for shipment to China.
“I know there are plans to upgrade some portions of the mill,” said Pernarowski.
Forests minister Steve Thomson echoed Pernarowski’s comments, saying the prospect of an employment boost would be welcomed.
“Certainly it’s a good sign to have this mill open up again,” he said.
Through wholesale forest policy changes in the last decade, Thomson does not have to sign off on a forest tenure transfer.
And a purchaser does not lose five per cent of a tenure’s annual allowable cut to the forest ministry’s program to encourage small business operators, either.
Thomson also said he’s not required to determine if the purchaser of forest tenure has met with obligations to consult with aboriginal groups and then accommodate whatever interests they may have.
The sale by West Fraser of Skeena Sawmills continues a growing connection between China and B.C. when it comes to forest products.
Thomson credited his predecessor, Pat Bell, with helping build the Chinese market
and also in adding lumber to an already substantial whole log export trade.
Provincial projections have China surpassing the United States as B.C.’s number one market.