In spite of the softwood lumber industry taking a hit this summer, West Kootenay mills are weathering the downturn very well. Compared to other mills in the province which are facing closures and lay-offs, local mills are just reducing their production at strategic intervals. The price of raw logs has dropped substantially in recent months resulting in mills receiving less for their timber sales.
Interfor VP of Western Operations made a statement that the amount of investment put into the mill since its purchase from Pope & Talbot, has ensured a greater variety of products and is therefore better able to weather periods where standard products have low demand. Kalesnikoff Lumber’s recent expansion plans that are underway mean that this company is predicting growth and hiring is expected this winter in spite of market instability.
Local firm, ATCO Wood Products, located in Fruitvale supplies a specific product to a niche market which is also being affected by the current downswing. However, CEO Scott Weatherford is confident that despite having to curtail production on some weeks depending on market conditions, the company will persevere through these tough economic times. He says “Wood products markets are cyclical, and at over 60 years old, our company has weathered many of these cycles.” ATCO is currently focused on forest management and harvesting plans which will help it to remain in business through future economic cycles in the lumber industry.
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