Recent History – 2000
July 17, 2000, By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
A laminated veneer lumber (LVL) plant originally intended for Fort St. John will be built in Dawson Creek instead, a Louisiana-Pacific (L-P) official confirmed Friday.
Originally, both a veneer mill and a LVL plant were to be built in Fort St. John as part of a commitment announced in April 1999 to build four facilities in northeast B.C.
But the head of L-P Canada’s engineered wood products subsidiary said it has since been determined that there is not enough fibre to support veneer mills in both Fort St. John and Dawson Creek.
With a veneer mill already under construction in Dawson Creek, Len Pettman said it made sense to locate the LVL plant in the Mile Zero City as well.
“Once the decision was made that there isn’t the fibre to have the second veneer mill, then it makes sense to tie the LVL plant to a veneer mill,” he said.
Changes to L-P’s forest tenure agreements were made in late-June to allow the plant to be built in Dawson Creek as well as to allow L-P to enter a partnership with Slocan Forest Products Ltd. to build an oriented strandboard plant in Fort St. John.
A veneer mill produces ribbon-like sheets of veneer by peeling high-quality trees. Those sheets are then taken to the LVL where they are glued together into LVL, which is used as a replacement product for lumber.
Once completed, the veneer plant will provide about 125 jobs once it becomes a three-shift operation. The LVL plant is expected to provide 50 to 75 more jobs.
While the veneer plant is expected to be completed by the end of this year, the LVL plant is slated to be operating by 2002. “So a couple of years out,” Pettman said.
The veneer plant had been scheduled for completion by this month, but there were some construction delays. “There’s been a bit of a lull in activity because of a review of the project, just the details of it,” Pettman said. “There were some equipment decisions that needed to be made, and there was a change of the management responsibilities for the project and the facility.”
Pettman is based in Golden, where L-P now owns the Evans Forest Products facility.
Not only will the Dawson Creek mill produce veneer sheets for the laminated veneer plant next door, but also for the laminated veneer plant in Golden, where L-P now owns the Evans Forest Products facility.
“The plant will be capable of producing far more than what Golden could ever use,” Pettman said when asked how an LVL plant in Dawson Creek will affect L-P’s initial plans to use the veneer mill here to supply veneer sheets to the LVL plant in Golden. “So there will be surplus veneer that will go into other facilities other than Golden.”
The veneer plant in Dawson Creek was originally planned as a separate facility from L-P’s four-facility commitment, but is now part of it.
Pettman said that a public meeting, similar to what was held in November 1999 has been considered, but no promise has been made.
“We’ve talked about it a bit. Certainly, if there is a need to, we will,” he said. “I would expect certainly before the plant starts up, there will be and I would we can sort of arrange an open house or something so people can see what we are doing there.”
Pettman said a location for an I-joist plant that will also be part of the package is still to be determined.