Three-shift operation the aim since opening

Crofton – I have kept my peace on the bashing going on over the Cowichan Bay Mill operating hours. But this latest attack is beyond reason.

First re: the party who claimed that a commitment had been made to only operate the mill on two shifts, five days per week. There were only two parties who could have given such an undertaking. Herb Doman or Joe Frumento, I can state without fear of contradiction, that neither of them would ever make such a commitment. Three shift operation was the aim from the day the mill opened.

Second re: Goertz Schuerholz’s assertion that the mill should run only dayshift and no weekend work.

The mill was most certainly there before Mr. Schuerholz. If its normal operating sound levels are a concern he should have chosen to move to some other community. In actual fact the mill has operated three shifts for much of its operating life, when market conditions allowed the sale of the additional production.

After negotiating an amendment to the IWA contract the mill was allowed to operate three shifts per day, seven days per week. I do not have my diaries but I am sure that the mill ran on this seven day, 24-hour basis for two or more years.

The only time the mill shut down was dayshift Friday to allow for servicing equipment at the mill and to service the trucks that carried the byproducts from the mill. Friday was Bay Day, the only servicing by Doman millwrights was full bore at Cowichan Bay and at the Cowichan Way truck depot. At 4 p.m. Friday everything had to be finished up and running. A slowdown in the lumber market resulted in the mill being closed for a period and all the accumulated repairs were performed during the shutdown. The mill never returned to the seven-day week, but three shifts are quite possible.

To those complainers in Cowichan Bay – the mill was there long before the majority of the complainers came to the bay and I hope it will be running and providing employment in our community long after they move on to their next residence. I am not an employee of WFP but I was chief accountant and insurance officer Domans from 1967 through 1989.

Ross Grant

Crofton