Prince George Mayor Shari Green acknowledged Monday “there are broken hearts” in the breaking of the ground at Lakeland Mills.
Dignitaries, mill employees and loved ones gathered to watch construction get underway on B.C.’s newest mill. It will replace the mill that was destroyed in a deadly explosion and fire 15 months ago today.
Greg Stewart, president and CEO of Sinclair Forest Products, principal owners of the Lakeland operation, made a solemn declaration to those employees. “When you walk through doors of this mill, a little over a year from now, you will be safe,” he said. “That is our priority, and that is my promise to you.”
Fears of another disaster were sparked later Monday, when police responded to a reported explosion at Carrier Forest Products sawmill on the Willow Cale forest service road. Police arrived around 4:15 p.m. to find the fire put out and one worker suffering minor injuries. He was transferred to hospital for treatment.
It is still not known to the public exactly what caused the incident that killed two employees and injured 22 more. B.C. Safety Authority and WorkSafeBC investigations into the blast have finished, but the body of evidence was turned over to the provincial Crown for a final check and that is not yet complete.