Staring down an immediate crisis, Quesnel keeps eye on forestry’s longer term future

By DERRICK PENNER

QUESNEL — On the industrial outskirts of town, C&C Wood Products kept running its operations through a cruel summer of layoffs, production curtailments and mill closures in British Columbia’s forest industry.

It wasn’t easy, said C&C plant manager Tim Potter. Staying in operation meant keeping a careful eye on staffing to make sure they ran as efficiently as possible.

“Yes, the purse strings were a bit tighter, but the giants, you know, they stumbled a bit,” Potter said, “and we just kept on running.”

And while rival forestry giant Tolko Industries permanently closed its Quest Mill in Quesnel, C&C embarked on an expansion with construction of a new value-added plant in Cranbrook.

“There aren’t many companies out there that are pursuing a close to $10 million project in starting up another wood processing facility in this province right now,” Potter said, “But we are. I think that says something for what we do and how we do it.”

C&C kept running, with a full crew of 150 doing what the company has done since 1975, taking the scraps of timber the primary sawmilling-sector doesn’t want — undersized tree tops, pine-beetle salvage logs, aspen hardwood, and turning it into specialty wall panelling, mouldings and trim.

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