Devastated B.C. mill closes again, possibly for last time
Workers at the Lakeland Mills planer in Prince George are once again out of a job after the last of the remaining inventory wood was put through the planer on Tuesday, meaning the mill will now shut down indefinitely.
An explosion in April killed two men, injured 24 others and destroyed the sawmill, but the planer was able to re-open in May, allowing 22 employees to return to work.
The company is waiting on information from its insurance company and WorksafeBC before deciding whether or not to rebuild, according to Greg Stewart, president of Sinclair Group Forest Products, the company that owns the majority of the mill.
Stewart said there’s a solid case to be made for rebuilding the mill.
"I think we have some of the best employees in the industry. We have a fibre situation which is different from a lot of mills in the north. We have local owners that are very supportive of the community that have shown their commitment and stood by us through this tragedy."
The company will continue to provide fibre for the city of Prince George's district energy system and the University of Northern BC's bio-energy plant.A report Tuesday noted that safety reports from as early as 2008 cited dust as a potential hazard at the mill, but WorksafeBC is currently investigating what caused the explosion.