Western Forest Products announced Thursday that it is indefinitely curtailing operations at the Somass Sawmill in Port Alberni.
The sawmill, which manufactures western red cedar, has been temporarily curtailed since February. Before that, operations were reduced to a single shift.
According to the company, the decision to indefinitely curtail operations is due to a lack of log supply to operate the mill efficiently and the softwood lumber dispute with the United States.
Western Forest Products said it is focused on reducing costs to remain competitive. Cost reductions will be delivered through operational consolidation, the company said, and it expects to offset lost production from the Somass Sawmill by increasing production at its other Vancouver Island operations.
The company said it intends to offer voluntary severance to Somass Sawmill hourly employees.
“We have made the announcement today to provide clarity and options for our Somass employees. We will be encouraging employees to explore opportunities for employment at Western’s other sawmills on Vancouver Island,” said Don Demens, president and CEO of Western Forest Products in a statement.
“Western is committed to creating the most competitive specialty softwood lumber manufacturing business possible. We have invested over $300 million on the coast of B.C. since 2012, including $100 million in modernizing our Vancouver Island manufacturing facilities, and we remain focused on ensuring the long-term viability of our business for the benefit of our employees, shareholders, and the communities in which we operate.”