VANCOUVER, Feb. 7 /CNW/ - TimberWest Forest Corp. announced today that it
will permanently close the Elk Falls sawmill in Campbell River, B.C. The last
full operating shift will be May 9, 2008. The sawmill closure will include the
associated shipping operations at Stuart Channel Wharves located in Crofton,
TimberWest has been engaged in a process to sell the mill since October
2005. Despite widespread exposure across Canada and elsewhere, no purchasers
came forward with a bid proposal to acquire the mill. The mill has high
operating costs and a history of losses even before the most recent decline in
lumber markets and the strengthening of the Canadian dollar.
"Decisions like these are very difficult, given the dedicated workforce
at the mill and the obvious impact on families and the community," said Paul
McElligott, TimberWest President and CEO. "TimberWest will honor all of its
obligations to its employees as a result of this decision. In addition, our
Manager of Human Resources will meet with each of the affected staff employees
over the next week."
There are 257 hourly and staff employees affected by this announcement.
TimberWest will continue to operate the mill over the next three months, as
market conditions permit, and we will ensure customer orders are filled.
TimberWest Forest Corp. is uniquely positioned as Western Canada's
largest private land management company. The Company owns in fee simple
approximately 322,000 hectares or 796,000 acres of private land, including 75
kilometres of waterfront, that, over the previous five years, have provided an
annual average timber harvest of 2.565 million m(3) of logs and have an
approximate annual growth rate of 8.0 m(3) per hectare per year on the
productive land base. These lands are located on Vancouver Island and the
majority of the land base supports the growth of Douglas fir, a premium tree
species sought after for structural purposes. TimberWest runs fully-contracted
harvesting operations. With almost 80% of the Company's annual private land
logging now being done in second-growth stands, TimberWest leads the Coastal
industry in the growing and harvesting of second-growth timber.
TimberWest also owns renewable Crown harvest rights to 0.7 million m(3)
of logs per year and operates a sawmill located near Campbell River, BC.
The Company's independent auditor, KPMG Performance Registrar Inc.,
periodically certifies that the forest management practices on both the
Company's private and public timberlands continue to meet all Sustainable
Forestry Initiative (SFI(R)) requirements. SFI requirements specify that
forest harvesting is integrated with environmental and conservation goals for
soil, wildlife, water quality protection, conservation of biodiversity,
protection of special sites and aesthetics in a manner that ensures a
sustainable harvest over the long-term.
In addition, approximately 54,000 hectares or 134,000 acres
(approximately 17% of the land base) of the Company's lands have been
identified as having greater value as real estate properties and will
progressively be made available for higher uses over the next ten to fifteen
years. Five land classifications have been developed for the Company's 39,000
acres of core development lands. An additional 41,000 acres adjacent to our
core development lands have yet to be classified for specific development
opportunities, and some 54,000 acres of non-core higher and better use lands
will be sold "as is" over time with no additional planning or zoning work
undertaken. The Company reviews its land base on a periodic basis to update
the size of its portfolio of higher use properties.
Stapled Units of TimberWest Forest Corp. are traded on the Toronto Stock
Exchange under the symbol: TWF.UN
Visit us at our web site: www.timberwest.com
For further information:
For further information: Steve Lorimer, Manager, Public Affairs and
Government Relations, TimberWest Forest Corp, (250) 729-3727,