More than 200 people joined a rally yesterday afternoon to send a message to Western Forest Products.
Union members and local leaders are trying to convince the company to sell their local assets if they’re unwilling to make the necessary investments into the Somass and APD sawmills.
Port Alberni Mayor Mike Ruttan says with the high price of lumber right now, there’s no excuse for the indefinite curtailment of the Somass sawmill, and the company locking 42 acres of waterfront property.
The San Group, who recently purchased the Coulson cedar mill, are being urged to purchase the mills, and also attended the rally to show their commitment to the Alberni Valley forest industry.
Bob Bortolin, San’s VP of development says they are interested, but not actively negotiating.
Local Steelworkers president Brian Butler says Western Forest Product’s strategy is to indefinitely curtail a sawmill, as they did with the Somass, and if there is no reaction from the community, they will demolish it, as they did with their mill in Nanaimo.