Canadian Manufacturing

B.C. grants timber licence in exchange for mill in Fort St. James, B.C.

The company is expected to build a new mill in the town that will be in operation within 36 months

October 29, 2019  The Canadian Press

VICTORIA – The B.C. government has approved the transfer of a forest licence to Fort St. James Forests Products on the condition the company will build a new mill in the town that recently declared a financial crisis.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says he approved the transfer of the forest licence and associated road permits from Conifex Timber Inc. after determining it was in the public interest.

Donaldson says in a statement the firm’s parent company has committed to build a new mill in Fort St. James that will be in operation within 36 months of the closing the Conifex transaction.

Conifex shut down its sawmill in May and then sold the mill and timber rights to Hampton a month later in an agreement worth $39 million plus the log inventory.

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In July, Fort St. James Mayor Bev Playfair declared the local state of financial crisis because the mill was the town’s major employer and its closure devastated the community.

This is the first such approval under legislative changes to the Forest Act this spring that ensures companies engage with First Nations, workers and local governments before a tenure transfer would be considered by government.