Fort St. James municipal office. (File photo)

B.C. town declares financial crisis after sawmill closure leaves 230 workers jobless

The District will have a job fair on July 31 to help workers find transitioning jobs

Fort St. James has declared a state of financial crisis after the closure of a local sawmill has left hundreds without a job.

The city issued the declaration at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, and will be in effect until Aug. 15 unless otherwise cancelled or extended by Mayor Bev Playfair.

The Conifex sawmill was sold to Hampton Lumber, and then closed, in June. An estimated 230 people are now unemployed.

People affected now have access to the district’s tax deferral program, food bank, family assistance programs and mental health services.

A job fair will be hosted locally on July 31.

READ MORE: Hampton to buy Conifex sawmill in Fort St. James

Playfair said she hopes the sawmill is rebuilt into a new facility that rehires most of the unemployed residents.

Mayor Bev Playfair of Fort St. James said, “the best thing we want is Hampton to come to town and build a new facility and put most of the workers back to work.”

District staff have met with Northern Health, Chief Alexander McKinnon of Nak’azdli Whut’en, the Steelworkers’ Union, Services Canada and others to determine a plan of action in transitioning people back into the workforce.

“We want the government to hear us loud and clear and pay attention to our community,” Playfair said.

“This didn’t happen yesterday or a week ago, this all started with an announcement from Conifex on Nov. 30 and then we have been curtailing ever since then.”

Playfair said that many are running out of unemployment insurance.

“The last thing we want is them moving out of the community.”


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

‘Deeply sorry’: Former West Kelowna teacher offers emotional apology to student he sexually exploited

Judge will make decision on Bradley Furman’s sentencing in the coming weeks

Not-for-profit Kelowna dental clinic to celebrate 15 year anniversary with event on Friday

Dental staff at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission will host event at 2509B Leon Avenue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m..

Kelowna photo contest gets people thinking about respect

Snowboard and ski packages, wine tastings, gift cards all up for grabs in Respect Lives Here contest

South Okanagan rescue hopes to find injured hawk’s owner

The South Okanagan Rehab Centre for Owls found the rare Harris hawk on Thursday

Big White warns skiers to avoid tree wells after two fatalities at other resorts

Tree wells form when low branches at the base of coniferous trees stop snow from settling at the trunk

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Health upgrades in South Okanagan and Similkameen forecast to cost nearly $10 million

Capital projects include CT scanner, medical vacuum system, ultrasounds and more

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Most Read