Meadow Creek Forest Products says it has achieved its goal of re-starting the idled sawmill at Cooper Creek. The first log ran through the mill on Friday, company spokesman Bob Bortolin said. Machinery is still being tested and full production is expected shortly.
“The team at the mill have worked long and hard to ensure a prompt startup,” Bortolin said. “Logs will start flowing into the mill this week.”
San Group of Surrey recently acquired the mill, which has not operated since 2011, along with its suspended forest license. Bortolin said the initial workforce would be “fluid” but would consist of at least 25 people operating a single shift.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the company said the Ministry of Forests has advised them the license suspension has been rescinded and “All outstanding debts to the Crown have been resolved. Meadow Creek Forest Products now has official approval to commence logging as per their current licence.” (The ministry couldn’t immediately confirm the statement.)
Bortolin said people with woodlots have also approached them.
“Another positive is that clients from both local and overseas markets have been inquiring about availability of lumber products,” he said. “The marketing team is in the process of setting up supply contracts with theses clients.”
Bortolin acknowledged challenges restarting the mill and said there may be more to come. “As we get into production, a machine that’s been idle for three years might have a bearing shot, but we’re able to take care of it. We were aware of what we were getting into. Now we’re looking forward to running the mill.”
Edwin Zeller was been named mill manager. Company owners Kamal and Sukhi Sanghera have also been onsite overseeing the startup.
Bortolin said they are pleased with the response they have had: “Initially there was some hesitation but the community is supporting us and that will be paid back to them.”