New Crown Forest Policy Drives $16.8 Million Investments in the Forests, Mills and Suppliers - 74 Jobs Created

Alain Oullette (JDI), Robert Pinette (JDI) Carmel St. Amand (Mayor of St. Leonard), Jean-Paul Savoie (Mayor of Kedgwick), Senator Percy Mockler, MLA Yvon Bonenfant, Minister Soucy, Premier Alward, Jim Irving, Minister Robichaud, MLA Martine Coulombe, Minister Dubé, Gaston Poitras (JDI), Blake Brunsdon (JDI) (CNW Group/J.D. Irving, Limited)

ST. LEONARD, NB, April 7, 2014 /CNW/ - J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) announced today that it will invest $16.8 million in northern New Brunswick, creating 45 new jobs and 9 construction-related jobs.  The investments are being made in the forests JDI owns in NB as well as in upgrades to its sawmills in St. Leonard and Kedgwick.

As a result of the new Crown forest policy, JDI is making a $6M investment in new forestry equipment from A.L.P.A. Equipment Ltd in Balmoral, located in Restigouche County.  This is in addition to a $16.5M equipment purchase made by JDI in December 2013.  The order from JDI, $22.5M in total, will create 10 new jobs at A.L.P.A. Equipment Ltd.

"We have cared for the Black Brook Woodlands near St. Leonard for over 70 years.  From these company-owned lands, we have pioneered tree planting as well as GPS and GIS technology and undertaken many forest research projects.  These internationally certified forests are both a living research centre and an important contributor to the wood supply that sustains jobs throughout the province," said Jim Irving, Co-Chief Executive Officer of J.D. Irving, Limited.  "The sawmills at Kedgwick and St. Leonard are vital to local employment and healthy rural economies and we are committed to sustaining and growing them.  The Province's results-based forestry initiative provides the sustainable wood supply to invest and grow jobs.  We appreciate this vote of confidence in the skill and passion of our mill employees, forestry professionals, harvesters, truckers, silviculture workers, and great suppliers like A.L.P.A. Equipment."

"New Brunswick's forestry sector was built by strong partners, and J.D. Irving, Limited's projects in St. Leonard and Kedgwick demonstrate that the future of our province's biggest economic sector is as bright as its past," said Premier David Alward. "I want to congratulate J.D. Irving, Limited for the confidence it is placing in New Brunswick's greatest resource, its people. These projects will put boots in the woods and in our mills in every region of our province."

Natural Resources Minister Paul Robichaud said the investments being made in St. Leonard is another testament to how the new forestry strategy is working.  "The strategy is allowing companies like JDI to support communities like St. Leonard, which rely on these industries. A stronger and more competitive forest sector is good news for every New Brunswicker as it is critical to our economic future," Robichaud said.

"This is great news for our community," said Carmel St. Amand, Mayor of St. Leonard.  "J.D. Irving, Limited has been a dedicated investor in the people, community, forests and mills in northern New Brunswick.  These new investments will not only grow short-term construction jobs, but also sustain good paying jobs at the sawmill which has been part of St. Leonard for over 25 years."

Irving's forestry and mill operations account for over 640 jobs (direct and indirect) in St. Leonard, generating a payroll of over $38 million/year.  In addition, there are over 300 local businesses in Madawaska and Victoria Counties that supply JDI's forest products operations.

"Every job matters in Kedgwick and the sawmill and forests that surround us are vital to our community," said Jean Paul Savoie, Mayor of Kedgwick.  "Renewable forests and an ongoing investment in the competitiveness of the Kedgwick sawmill strengthens the future for over 350 direct and indirect employees as well as over 65 businesses in Restigouche County that depend on these operations.  Irving has continued to invest since acquiring the mill in 2004, and today's news affirms their commitment to the community of Kedgwick."

"Irving Woodlands has been a longstanding customer of our company for 38 years," said Serge Landry, Vice President and General Manager of AL.P.A. Equipment Ltd and A Landry Fabrication.   "As a business that is headquartered in rural New Brunswick, this contract is great news.  A healthy forest products sector impacts more than just the mills - it includes suppliers like us.  This is the largest single contract in our history and will result in 10 new jobs."

"When times got tough and companies like Bowater and UPM left the province to start new mills in China and Brazil, Irving stuck with New Brunswick," Landry continued.  "Irving invested and kept jobs here at home.  As a rural business that depends on the forest sector and good customers like Irving, we are happy to see the Province's commitment to growing the wood supply to secure today's jobs and create more," Landry said.

INVESTMENT DETAILS:

APRIL 2014:  $16.8 Million Total Investment

SAWMILLS

  • St. Leonard Sawmill:  $2.5 Million investment in a new chip screen and chip conveyor system
  • Kedgwick Sawmill:  $1.0 Million investment in a dry kiln modernization

WOODLANDS

  • $7.3 Million increased annual investment in silviculture and tree planting on JDI freehold in New Brunswick
  • $6 Million invested in 11 new harvesting machines from A.L.P.A. Equipment Ltd of Balmoral, NB

JOBS

  • 7 NEW permanent direct sawmill jobs
  • 15 NEW woodlands jobs
  • 10 NEW jobs at A.L.P.A. Equipment Ltd
  • 23 NEW indirect jobs
  • 9 NEW direct and indirect construction jobs

SEPTEMBER 2012 to FEBRUARY 2014:  $13.8 Million Total Investment

SAWMILLS

  • St. Leonard Sawmill: new dry kiln and site improvements
  • Veneer Sawmill: new scanning technology
  • Kedgwick Sawmill: new hot pond

WOODLANDS

  • Forestry equipment investments (16 new machines from A.L.P.A. Equipment Ltd of Balmoral, NB)
  • Workforce development & training (44 harvesters and truckers)
  • Additional private land silviculture investments

About A.L.P.A. Equipment Ltd

A.L.P.A. Equipment Ltd. is Atlantic Canada's and Gaspé Peninsula's premier heavy construction and forestry equipment dealer. Headquartered in Balmoral, New Brunswick, the company is the region's largest and has locations in Fredericton, Edmundston, and Truro.  Employing a team of 100 and with over 35 years' experience, A.L.P.A Equipment Ltd. has the services and equipment needed for building new roads, harvesting trees, or handling and moving material.  A.L.P.A. Equipment Ltd. is your partner in profitability and efficiency. Our trained service technicians are able to offer you piece of mind with total maintenance and repairs.

A Landry Fabrication (a division of A.L.P.A. Equipment Ltd) is a custom fabricator of equipment for the forest industry, but it mainly manufactures the LANDRICH, the first purpose track harvester built in New Brunswick for New Brunswick loggers.  Companies like Irving, Fornebu, Groupe Savoie, AV Cell, and AV Nackawick have one or more of the 22 machines produced so far in Balmoral, NB.  Most recently the company has grown new markets in Nova Scotia and Quebec.

ABOUT JDI in Northern New Brunswick

J.D. Irving, Limited first began caring for forests in northern New Brunswick during World War II. The forests of northern New Brunswick were a vital source of strong birch veneer used in the production of war planes.  Later the forest holdings in northern NB would grow to supply sawmills and the pulp mill in Saint John.

For almost 70 years the Black Brook Woodlands near St. Leonard have sustained jobs, habitat, and a living research laboratory that enables study on a landscape level.  Every year at least 11 post graduates are investigating habitat and forest health questions.  This land is also part of JDI's voluntary conservation program that accounts for about 20% of the Black Brook Woodlands land area.  It was on these woodlands that the company's commitment to reforestation began in 1957.  Today over 250 million seedlings have been planted at Black Brook and over 900 million on all of the lands owned or managed by the Company - a national record for a private company in Canada.

For the people of this region, these woodlands and mills in St. Leonard, Kedgwick, Baker Brook, Veneer, and Clair sustain over 1600 jobs (direct and indirect) and $80 million in employment income as well as about 400 suppliers in Madawaska, Victoria, Restigouche, and Gloucester Counties.

SOURCE J.D. Irving, Limited

Image with caption: "Alain Oullette (JDI), Robert Pinette (JDI) Carmel St. Amand (Mayor of St. Leonard), Jean-Paul Savoie (Mayor of Kedgwick), Senator Percy Mockler, MLA Yvon Bonenfant, Minister Soucy, Premier Alward, Jim Irving, Minister Robichaud, MLA Martine Coulombe, Minister Dubé, Gaston Poitras (JDI), Blake Brunsdon (JDI) (CNW Group/J.D. Irving, Limited)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140407_C8878_PHOTO_EN_38906.jpg

For further information:

Mary Keith 
J.D. Irving, Limited
(506) 632-5122 office
(506) 650-8209 cell