Western Forest Products invests approximately $29 million in its B.C. operations
July 8, 2022 | 2:35 pm CDT

VANCOUVER -- Western Forest Products has invested approximately $29 million towards its B.C. operations. The investments are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to support value-added manufacturing on the B.C. Coast and grow its value-added wood products business, all while continuing to improve Western’s long-term competitiveness.

“We are proud to add to our ongoing investments in our manufacturing facilities on Vancouver Island with substantial upgrades that maximize the value of the wood products we process locally. With the use of wood in multistorey construction growing as a low carbon solution, we have invested in considerable research to determine how we can participate in this growth opportunity,” said Joel Fournier, vice president of Canadian manufacturing, Western Forest Products.

These capital investments represent an increase of $13 million over and above the $16 million of capital investments discussed in the company’s first quarter 2022 management’s discussion and analysis.

“Adding equipment that allows us to manufacture product lines used in glulam and mass timber building represents an exciting step forward for our company and employees, as we pursue growth while supporting the needs of our communities and planet. We are also looking forward to increasing our drying capacity by approximately 72 million board feet, which is an important part of the process in making higher value wood products,” Fournier added.

Specifically, the investments include:

  • $12.3 million in a new continuous kiln at the Saltair sawmill in Ladysmith, B.C., allowing for increased capacity for continuous drying of lumber, while reducing energy consumption. The sawmill is the largest single-line sawmill on the coast of B.C. following the previous multi-phase strategic capital investment of over $42 million undertaken to modernize the sawmill since 2013. The facility has three existing kilns on site for drying lumber.
  • $7.9 million at the Duke Point facility in Nanaimo, B.C., to optimize the centralized planer facility with new equipment, including a machine stress rated (“MSR”) lumber grading machine. The MSR machine provides strict lumber grade quality control with known values for strength and stiffness for lumber utilized in engineered products, including roof trusses, glulam and mass timber. The sawmill and planer have undergone a previous multi-phase strategic capital investment of over $45 million since 2015 to modernize the facility.
  • $8.3 million in other capital investments in the Company’s B.C. operations, including new kiln control systems at the Saltair sawmill and our Value-Added Division in Chemainus, B.C. to increase supply of kiln dried finished products for customers.

“Western has deep roots in the community and plays an active role by providing significant employment and contributions. This investment further affirms the company’s commitment to Nanaimo, and we look forward to our ongoing partnership for many more years to come,” said Kim Smythe, Greater Nanaimo chamber of commerce president and CEO.

Each of these investments will serve to generate additional value from Western’s wood products. Work on these investment projects is underway and is expected to be completed by 2023.

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).