Norbord has announced it plans to permanently close the 100 Mile oriented strand board plant.

Norbord has announced it plans to permanently close the 100 Mile oriented strand board plant.

Norbord to permanently close 100 Mile Plant

Union told of the decision following company board meeting Wednesday night

Norbord Inc. has announced Thursday it will permanently close its oriented strand board plant in 100 Mile House, saying reopening the mill was uneconomic and it was “unlikely to have a role to play in the future.”

The move comes just two weeks after the company offered a tentative settlement agreement to those who had lost their jobs in August 2019 when Norbord curtailed operations at the plant on a temporary/indefinite basis. Only five workers remained at the plant as the care and maintenance group.

“The Cariboo region in which the mill is located has been under wood supply pressure for the past decade as a result of the mountain pine beetle epidemic and more recently significant wildfires, leading to a 50 percent reduction in the region’s annual allowable harvest,” Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President states in a media release on the company’s website. “Taken together, the current and expected ongoing wood supply shortage makes operation of the mill uneconomic and Norbord has decided to permanently close 100 Mile House.”

Chuck LeBlanc, president of Public And Private Workers of Canada Local 9, said he was notified Thursday of the company decision, which was reached at a company board meeting.

“We’re disappointed they’re closing the plant but at the same time it’s not a great shock to us,” LeBlanc said. “At the beginning, we thought it was just a ploy for them not to pay severance. Wood prices are higher than they’ve ever been and there is available fibre but they made it a business decision.”

Norbord Inc. has posted its strongest quarter ever, reporting adjusted EBITDA of US$322 million for the third quarter of 2020 compared to US$84 million in the second quarter of 2020 and US$33 million in the third quarter of 2019. The company has said it wants to focus on its operations in the U.S., noting the 100 Mile plant was its highest cost operation. Earnings in the current quarter include US$10 million of costs related to the closure of the 100 Mile mill.

Norbord indefinitely curtailed the mill’s production since August 2019 in response to a wood supply shortage and rising fibre costs. The union filed a grievance on Aug. 27 that the plant had been permanently closed and employees were entitled to severance pay under Article 14, section 5 of the Collective Agreement. A further grievance was filed on March 7 and was slated to be heard Dec. 2-4.

However, the company reached out two weeks ago with a tentative settlement agreement. Workers had to make a decision by Friday last week.

LeBlanc said many of the former workers have moved on to other jobs, but there are still more who remain in the community. The settlement, he said, will “help the make decisions for the rest of their lives and live them a sense of closure.

“A lot of these guys have worked there since 1994 when it opened,” he said. “You pour your heart and soul into a place and it’s tough to move on.”

The union is continuing to negotiate a settlement for the five workers who remain.

More to come.

forestry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The wind has been gusting Friday, March 5 in Williams Lake with the risk of a thunderstorm in the forecast for later in the afternoon. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
More than 500 customers in Cariboo without power, risk of thunderstorm Friday afternoon

The BC Hydro map is adding more power outages as the afternoon unfolds

The two suspects arrested south of 150 Mile House Tuesday, March 2, following a high-speed chase with the RCMP have been charged. (Will Roberts photo)
High-speed chase suspects charged, remain in custody after arrest south of Williams Lake

John Craig and Maggie M. Higgott appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court March 4

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Many members of the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club (pictured) have teamed up with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society to host a free ski in celebration of World Water Day. (Patrick Davies photo - Black Press Media)
Conservation society, cross country ski club, celebrate World Water Day with free ski March 6

The free ski will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 6 at Bull Mountain

International Women’s Day is March 8. (Internationalwomensday.com)
International Women’s Day 2021: #choosetochallenge

International Women’s Day is marked annually on March 8

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read