Recent History – 1999
Nov. 12, 1999, By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
It’s official — Louisiana-Pacific is building a veneer plant in Dawson Creek.
Details of the project were released during a public meeting Wednesday evening that drew about 120 people to the George Dawson Inn, confirming what was commonly believed in the process.
L-P started pouring footings for the mill in September but held off on making the announcement, because there had been no full approval from the board of directors until now — only interim approval for footings and foundation work to beat the winter freeze.
“We knew we wanted to beat some weather issues and we wanted to get some things started,” said Richard Yarbrough, L-P engineer wood and plywood division director. “And now that we’ve got full approval and now that we’ve got some things started, we knew it was time to stand up and say this is where we’re going and why we were doing it.”
The plant, located on a 110-acre site near the Dawson Creek Municipal Airport on Highway 2, will clearly have a big impact on the local economy. Expected to be in production by August 2000, the $37-million facility will initially employ about 50 people on a one-shift basis and is expected to contribute more than $20 million annually to the local economy through payroll, log purchases, transportation and purchase of local goods.
If that wasn’t enough, a cheque for $200,000 was presented to Mayor Blair Lekstrom by L-P human resources manager Pat Mersereau, which will go in the swimming pool fund.
“We been involved in this community for some time,” Yarbrough said prior to the presentation.
“We think it’s time for us to make a contribution to this community beyond just jobs and pay.”
Lekstrom said the veneer plant has been the biggest announcement that he’s been a part of in the three years he’s been mayor, and credited both council and the community at large for creating the positive investment climate that helped draw the plant to Dawson Creek.
“We’re seeing the fruits of all that hard work coming through,” he said.
He added that the $200,000 donation was not something that L-P had to make, but it shows that they recognize the importance of working with the community.
“Not only are you a strong part of our economic well-being, but you are an integral part of the social fabric of the community,” he said.