It was six months ago last Friday that explosion and fire ripped through the Babine Forest Products saw mill in Burns Lake. Two people died, a further 44 were injured.
Since that time, there have been numerous efforts launched to assist the community in its recovery from the tragedy, both economically and psychologically.
In a recent update, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, Pat Bell, says the Province continues to work on identifying a timber supply that would support the reconstruction of the mill.
The Special Legislative Committee examining Timber supply will have a report back to government in mid August. “At that point in time, we will be in a better position to advise Hampton (Hampton Affiliates owns the Babine forest products mill) what might be possible for fiber supply for the area” says Bell. “Hampton has been working very hard on figuring out their potential reconstruction plan so it’s been a dual track process. I’ve been speaking with the senior management team at Hampton on a regular basis and I believe that if we are able, through this special legislative committee to support the re-development of that mill, I am hopeful that will happen.”
Ninety-three of the displaced workers are now employed. That number is down from where they had been a few months ago, and that is primarily because the Endako mine had to lay off some people. Twenty-three continue to work at the Babine Mill. There are another 44 who are receiving some form of Workers compensation. That leaves about 100 former sawmill employees who are still without work.