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"It's not a great day" Houston mayor speaks as main employer shuts down


Today marks the beginning of the end for 225 workers at sawmill in northern B.C. 

The last logs will start going through the Houston Forest Products Sawmill today. West Fraser is permanently shutting down the mill as a result of the mountain pine beetle infestation. 
The full shut down could take several weeks, as the remaining logs are processed, wrapped and shipped. Workers have had six months to prepare, but Houston Mayor Bill Holmberg says that hasn't made it any easier. 

"I don't think it's a very happy day, that's for sure. There's going to be some people that are going to lose their jobs, some people are moving,  some people have taken early retirement."

Holmberg says the ripple effects of the closure are already being felt in the community of 3000.

"The district of Houston, we're going to have five thousand dollars less tax revenue, so we've had to make some changes, you know laid some people off."

"Any time you take two hundred and some jobs out of a community of about 2400 people, it's gonna have a huge impact."

Holmberg expects it will be a difficult transition, as Houston looks diversify its economy through tourism, and possibly the liquefied natural gas sector. 

He also worries about people who will now have to find jobs in far more expensive locations such as B.C.'s booming northeast and northwest locations.

"Where else can you buy a nice house for 150 grand?"

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