WFP reopens Ladysmith mill

Western Forest Products re-opened its Ladysmith Sawmill Monday after it was closed for more than a month. The mill was first shut down on Dec. 5, leaving 75 employees without pay during the Christmas period.

WFP said a weakening market and lack of lumber need in China, that the mill on Ludlow Road caters specifically to, was the problem initially. But the company made the decision to re-open "late last week" after "securing some new orders," confirmed director of communications Amy Spencer.

"We were able to get some new customers although the market is still challenging," said Spencer.

All workers were called on Friday to return to work Monday.

"We want to keep the mill running for as long as we can. We have an order file for two months but more are coming after that," said Spencer.

"When you are operating in a global market, there’s always that risk of uncertainty. It’s the same with all of our mills. It’s very much in our interest to have all of our mills operating at full capacity all the time."

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone was pleased with the news. "It’s good news for our community as it’s an important part of our employment landscape. It’s encouraging that it started up again so quickly. It’s unfortunate we can’t have more influence on the foreign markets, but we have to be happy."

Stone says the mill is a large industrial contributor to the town’s tax base and said it’s positive news to see it moving forward and viable.