Vaagen Puts Emphasis On Midway Closure


Vaagen Fibre Canada (an affiliate of Vaagen Brothers Lumber) announced it is shutting down its Midway, BC sawmill indefinitely, while indicating it is looking for solutions to keep the operation going, and encouraging those impacted throughout the Boundary, West Kootenay, and Okanagan regions to appeal to the Ministry of Forests.

The company said that on January 5 it informed the dedicated mill staff of 85 employees, as well as nearly 100 contractors, vendors, and/or suppliers know that it will be shutting down the Midway mill. “Although the news we are sharing is not good news, we are steadfastly committed to continue to look for solutions for every possible way forward,” the company states.

Vaagen Fibre Canada is a non-tenured mill and has been operating in Midway without forest tenure for the past 10 years. As a non-tenured mill, it does not have forest licenses to manage Crown forests, which means it must purchase all logs on the open market including the procurement of logs from local private landowners and woodlot owners.

“Although our team has been creative for years in finding logs to run our mill, there are a few challenges that have compounded for us, and without resolution, the future of our operation is uncertain. This is an access to wood fiber at market price issue,” the company states. “We have put forward several solutions to the Ministry of Forests to help us reopen Vaagen Fibre Canada.”

The company noted that in 2008, Pope & Talbot, the previous owner of the mill, closed the mill, but the community rallied to save the mill, which Vaagen purchased.

“We encourage you to respectfully email MLA (Member Legislative Assembly) Roly Russell, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development. Let him know how important the mill is to our communities and ask him to bring the voice of the people forward to the Minister of Forests to find solutions to help Vaagen Fibre Canada reopen.”

Vaagen released a form letter for supporters to e-mail to the MLA: [email protected]

Dear MLA Russell,
I am saddened to hear that the 85 team members/employees of Vaagen Fibre Canada and nearly 100 contractors/vendors/suppliers who work in collaboration with the mill were told that the Midway mill will be closing indefinitely. This closure will impact not only many employees and their families, but local businesses, and many others who work and live in our rural communities.

In a press release to the community, Duane Vaagen, President of Vaagen Fibre Canada, shared that there may be several solutions to help solve the challenges the mill is facing.

As our MLA and the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development who is committed to helping local families and communities thrive, I am signing this letter asking you to bring the voice of your constituents to the new Minister of Forests and his team to find solutions to help Vaagen Fibre Canada re-open.

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