Dimension lumber for frame construction is the backbone of B.C.’s forest industry. (Black Press Media)

B.C. lumber layoffs aim to stop falling wood products prices

Production cut as North American stud price dips below $300

The latest reductions in B.C. sawmill output may be enough to stop the slide of lumber prices after they hit record highs last year.

Canfor’s province-wide sawmill shutdowns were announced this week as North American prices for spruce-pine-fir two-by-fours and two-by-sixes slipped below $300 per 1,000 board feet, according to the latest figures from Madison’s Lumber Reporter. A year ago the two-by-four price was above $650, and the downward trend has continued since the beginning of 2019.

Canfor’s curtailments take effect next week, with a target of reducing B.C. lumber production by 200 million board feet. Sawmills at Houston and Vanderhoof are shutting down for four weeks, with two-week breaks mills in Prince George, Chetwynd, Fort St. John, Radium Hot Springs and Elko.

The only Canfor mill in B.C. to continue production is Wynnwood in the Creston Valley, which produces high-grade specialty boards used in furniture, siding, fascia, doors and windows and other fine woodwork.

Tolko Industries announced in May it will permanently shut down its Quest Wood sawmill in Quesnel, and Canfor followed suit last week with the pending closure of its Vavenby sawmill near Clearwater.

RELATED: B.C. forest companies get first test of logging licence rules

RELATED: Norbord closing 100 Mile House OSB plant in August

Interfor is reducing operating days at three B.C. Interior mills, at Castlegar, Grand Forks and Adams Lake. Interfor has agreed to pay $60 million for Canfor’s timber rights to Vavenby, to supply logs to its 100-year-old Adams Lake sawmill, but that sale must get ministry approval under the NDP government’s new legislation.

B.C. Liberal forests critic John Rustad said there have been 83 weeks of operational downtime at B.C. mills so far in 2019, as well as the two permanent closures. On top of that, Norbord announced this week it is shutting down its oriented strandboard plant in 100 Mile House in August, due to log supply problems after wildfires and the depletion of mountain pine beetle-killed timber in the B.C. Interior.

“There are possible solutions that government could employ to increase supply to OSB operations like Norbord and make B.C. more competitive by bringing down the highest production costs in North America,” Rustad said.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett called on the province to help the people losing their jobs. The Vavenby mill employs more than 170 people, and Norbord’s mill in 100 Mile House employs 160.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Victim Kim Ward, 51, died on scene at the August 2018 crash

Langford homeowner helps West Shore RCMP catch car thief

The homeowner grabbed the suspect until the police arrived moments later

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read