Hampton Affiliates, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation (BLNDC), Burns Lake, B.C., confirmed today that they are rebuilding the Babine sawmill that was destroyed by fire on January 20th, 2012. “The confirming decision made yesterday by the Hampton Board of Directors to rebuild the Babine sawmill is a reflection of its trust and confidence in our ability to supply the mill with logs based on the solid support of all six First Nations bands of the BLNDC,” said Steve Zika, Hampton’s CEO. “Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson, and his staff have worked hard in fairly and transparently moving the timber supply process forward.
“ The rebuild effort has also received great support for future critical log supply from the Burns Lake Community Forest and local community groups led by Mayor Luke Strimbold and MLA John Rustad. The trust and confidence that has developed with all of the above local parties, as evidenced by the commitment and cooperation we have seen to work to develop mutually beneficial log supply agreements has facilitated the rebuild decision. We look forward to continued engagement with First Nations, local government, and others to finalize log sourcing arrangements for both the Babine and Decker Lake sawmills. Initial meetings regarding an operating agreement with the United Steel Workers have also been positive and constructive.
“We have worked diligently on improving clean-up routines and dust reduction at our Decker Lake sawmill and at Hampton’s other mills in the U.S. The company is also actively participating with Worksafe and the industry task force, on combustion risks and will incorporate these findings into a new Babine sawmill.”
The new Babine sawmill will be two-thirds the size of the old mill to reflect reduced log availability and will have the ability to cut metric and ALS dimension lumber for a variety of markets. Minimal foundation work has started on the site, given winter weather conditions, and major equipment will be ordered shortly. The new Babine mill is anticipated to start up in early 2014.
“We believe Babine will be a viable integrated business going forward with significant cooperation among Hampton, its First Nations partners and the local community – a model of future sawmill business in B.C. going forward. We live daily with the regret and sorrow of the terrible January tragedy that killed two of our employees and forever altered the lives of many in Burns Lake. Looking forward, the Babine sawmill rebuild will allow our employees and the community to focus on a future of renewed and sustainable economic and social prosperity for Burns Lake,” concluded Zika.
Source: Hampton Affiliates