The chips are down: The sun sets on PG Pulp
Photos from the end of an era (and its beginning)
On March 31, union rep Chuck LeBlanc posted the following on Facebook:
Good evening all. At some point this weekend the last bale of pulp will go over the pulp line at PG. It is as all of you know a very sad day. PG is a viable mill. It has and can continue to make a profit!
We need to demand better from our government and from our Corporations. We need leaders who have vision!! Not leaders who believe it's easier to shut an operation down than look for and explore other options.
To all of our members we will continue to fight for your rights. Unfortunately Canfor has decided to go the cheapest route it can when dealing with our membership. We will take them on on your behalf.
To all who have worked at PG Pulp, please take a moment to remember the people/members who have put their heart and soul into our mill.
I have full confidence in our very skilled workforce that they all will find other employment. It's the turmoil and transition that makes me pause. All of us at that mill have poured our heart and souls into the mill, and now we face the ultimate sacrifice of losing our jobs with no fault of ours. Our corporate leaders need to re examine their business plans and take their biggest shareholders, their workers, into account.
We all want to thank all who have taken the time to post about the closure. The stories that everyone has could fill multiple books. Way too many characters, stories and accomplishment.
The good news is that in Prince George, at least, few people are finding themselves unemployed. According to Canfor, a combination of internal transfers, early retirements and “voluntary departures” (read: got a job somewhere else) meant about half of the 200 anticipated job losses were mitigated, but that still means 100 people facing pink slips and 200 fewer jobs, even if the people who were doing them found a way out.
But I just wanted to share a few of the moments marking the end of this era from mill employees, who have been sharing them in the public “PG Pulp Mill Survivors” group on Facebook. I think it’s worth marking.
Ryan Huberdeau, April 1: “Daryl Spletzer pulling the last nozzle out of the recovery boiler. 9:50am April 1, 2023.”
Meghan Gatzke, April 2: “Chips are down 😭”
Bob Quesnel, April 3: “I am sure this would mean some thing to most pulp mill people. The red icons that the machines are down . The end of the road for that digester.”
Notylac Grebyn, April 3: “Last night's sunset from across the ASB... A few hours before the recovery boiler went off gas, for it's final water wash.”
According to Canfor, “Canfor Pulp’s Prince George pulp line ended its production on April 3rd. At Canfor’s Houston facility, the sawmill stopped operating on March 31st with the kilns and planer facility continuing to operate until mid-April to finish processing the lumber inventory. In Chetwynd, the sawmill will stop operating in mid-April, followed by the kilns and planer before the end of April.”
“The positions associated with Specialty Paper Facility at the Prince George Pulp & Paper are not affected as that facility will continue to operate.”
In 2023, how devastating of a blow is a mill closure to Prince George's future?
It will take years to measure the true impact of today's mill closures
Bonus: the pulp mill opens
Three pulp mills are scheduled to be built in Prince George.
One, Prince George Pulp and Paper Company Ltd. is well along with its $84 million, 800 tons per day mill.
Northwoods $65 million mill started later but is advancing rapidly — and had the silk hat distrinction of the first to receive chips for evental processing in its plant.
A third mill, Intercontinental, still is in th etentative stage, although a pulpwood harveesting area has been allocated to it.
Crazy that until this week, all three of these mills were still in operation. Also notable — while they started out as separate investments, all are now owned by one company.
The city has now recorded its 4th homicide of the year, all related to the ‘drug subculture’ according to RCMP. Strangely, a very similar notice from police came out at almost exactly the same time last year following three targeted killings.
The Cougars and Spruce Kings both lost on the road, with the Kings now on the brink of elimination.
For more than 70 years, Chief Lake Road has been taking drivers over private property by mistake, and now the Ministry of Transporation is trying to fix it.
Charges have been laid against an alleged drug trafficker in the city.
The Northern B.C. Climate Action Network had its first in-person meeting.
Northern Development Initiative Trust is funding 15 regional business liaison positions.