The Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce is stepping forward to support small creditors left in the lurch by the closure of Skeena Sawmills.
An email from chamber president Joshua Papke to members revealed plans to help the creditors launch a collaborative lawsuit by connecting them to others that might be able to help retrieve funds owed to numerous businesses by both Skeena Sawmills and its sister pellet plant, Skeena Bioenergy.
In the email, Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce Papke detailed the situation, noting concerns regarding the “validity of loans and security provided by 1392752 BC Ltd.,” the entity that was overseeing the operations of the aforementioned companies.
Papke emphasized the chamber’s proposal to jointly secure legal representation to urge a comprehensive inquiry by the receiver into the legitimacy of transactions carried out by 1392752 BC Ltd.
The chamber’s goal, Papke explained, is to protect the rights of all stakeholders and “ensure a fair and transparent resolution.” He further stated, “We believe that a unified approach within our chamber community can carry significant weight and effectiveness in achieving our goal.”
In an interview with The Terrace Standard, Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Heidi Asgar stated the organization’s dedication to assisting the business community throughout this ordeal.
“We wanted to help the business community, as a chamber, and what we did was simply communicate the news to them,” Asgar said.
She highlighted the chamber’s role as a facilitator between businesses and legal representation, despite some of the affected not being chamber members.
A B.C. Supreme Court receivership order confirms that a group of claimants has retained legal representation.
“We formed a group and retained a lawyer to represent us at the hearing on Sept. 20,” commented Northwest Loggers Association manager John Nester. He expressed hope that more companies might join the legal action.
Nester provided insights into the upcoming processes. The receiver, appointed during the same hearing, will “likely put a stay on all legal proceedings against the companies until they’ve had a chance to figure it all out,” he stated.
The cost estimate for the legal solicitation is many thousands of dollars, Nester said adding the intent behind this legal action is to prevent a unilateral awarding of all assets to 1392752 BC Ltd.
Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.