The family-run WoodEx mill in Edgewater could be forced to close due to a lack of available wood.

The medium-sized sawmill has been operating only intermittently for the past five weeks, leaving at least 45 employees with an uncertain job future.

Douglas Riddell, President, CEO, and owner of WoodEx, blames the lack of work on the inaction of the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, which he said has created a local lumber market locally that is dominated by forestry giant Canfor, leaving WoodEx short on wood supply.

According to Mr. Riddell, WoodEx’s troubles began with the merger of Canfor and Tembec, where Canfor acquired the Radium and Elko sawmills, as well as their allowable cut tenure.

In the area between Golden and Cranbrook, Canfor now holds an annual allowable cut volume of 901,157 cubic metres, compared to WoodEx’s 29,877. This imbalance makes it impossible for WoodEx to compete in the market, Mr. Riddell said.

From The Columbia Valley Pioneer: