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Business stable for Canoe Forest Products in Salmon Arm despite some industry closures

Although the company isn’t immune, market forces remain kind to plywood/veneer production
An aerial shot shows the Canoe Forest Products Ltd. plywood/veneer plant in Canoe. (Image courtesy of Canoe Forest Products Ltd.)

So far, so good at Canoe Forest Products Ltd. in Canoe, one of Salmon Arm’s largest employers.

Although B.C. companies such as Canfor and Tolko have been in the news recently due to mill closures or extended shutdowns, Canoe Forest Products, a plywood/veneer plant about five kilometres east of downtown Salmon Arm, has remained stable.

For instance, the plant didn’t shut down for any extra time over Christmas, which has happened in the past.

“Plywood has held up better than some of the other commodities in terms of volume of sales and pricing,” said Marcello Angelozzi, general manager. “It’s been fairly consistent as far as sales goes. We haven’t seen a big dry spell, knock on wood, but it doesn’t mean we’re immune.”

He said no changes to shifts or staffing are currently contemplated.

Read more: Tolko extends downtime at mills in North Okanagan, Cariboo

Read more: Canfor closing its Houston mill in April amid weak market; new facility under consideration

Read more: Hundreds of jobs affected as Canfor announces pulp line closure at B.C. mill

Canoe Forest Products is a member of the Gorman Group of Companies, which also has operations in West Kelowna, Revelstoke, Lumby and Oroville, Washington.

Angelozzi said sister companies such as Revelstoke’s Downie Timber have seen some curtailments because of market slowdowns over the past year.

“We haven’t been spared as a group… On the lumber side, they’re feeling it more than us,” he said of the Canoe plant.

Any temporary shutdowns or staff reductions in the group of companies have been market driven at this point, he said.

Right now in the industry, for some companies sales aren’t strong enough and prices are lower than what makes operating worthwhile.

Currently Canoe Forest Products has about 200 employees. It sells nearly 100 per cent of its products domestically, across Canada.

Angelozzi said the long-term issue will be fibre supply – trees.

He said a combination of diminishing annual allowable cuts and old growth deferrals could have big impacts on future fibre supply.

The annual allowable cut is defined as the annual amount of timber that can be harvested on a sustainable basis within a defined forest area. Old growth deferrals are stops or pauses to logging to help protect ecosystems while First Nations, the province and other partners develop a new approach for old-growth forest management.

The industry will have to adjust to a new reality with less fibre, Angelozzi said.

Read more: High lumber prices good for two of Salmon Arm’s larger employers

Read more: Gorman Group providing financial aid for employees
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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