Cullen welcomes “encouraging news” for Burns Lake sawmill rebuild

SMITHERS – Conditional confirmation yesterday that the Babine Forest Products mill in Burns Lake will be rebuilt is “another step in the right direction,” MP Nathan Cullen said from Ottawa today.

“First Nations, federal, provincial and municipal levels of government have been working toward this goal with the community and Hampton Affiliates since the January explosion,” Cullen said.  “There are still some challenges that need to be met but yesterday’s announcement is welcome and encouraging news.”

Cullen noted ongoing work to transition Burns Lake to a new economy that continues to include but not rely solely on forestry also bodes well for the future of the community.

“The days of one-industry forestry towns in British Columbia are over,” he said.  “BC forest policy needs a serious overhaul, fibre baskets are finite, and we need to pursue value-added forest products.”

Cullen repeated his call for an end to the export of raw materials, noting unprocessed resources, whether logs or minerals, cannot continue.

Hampton Affiliates confirmed yesterday it will build a smaller sawmill in Burns Lake if the company can secure an adequate wood supply and strike agreements with the community and area First Nations.  The mill would employ about 100-130 workers, down from 200-225, and reopen in 2014.

A final decision on the rebuild will be made in December.

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Contact: Shelley Browne, cullen1@parl.gc.ca 250-877-4140