Canfor Corp.’s Canal Flats sawmill in the east Kootenays has become the latest casualty in the British Columbia forest industry’s struggle to balance its production against timber supplies that are shrinking since the mountain pine beetle infestation.

Canfor, on Wednesday announced it will permanently cease operations at the mill Nov. 9 due to “a lack of economically available fibre supply” and poor markets, CEO Don Kayne said in a news release.

The company said 65 hourly-paid and nine staff employees will be affected.

Kayne said Canfor will work to “ease that transition” for workers by putting them first in line for hiring at other facilities.

Spokeswoman Corinne Stavness said the company, with the employees’ union, is establishing a transition office that will co-ordinate efforts to identify locations employees are willing to move to and creating lists of potential openings.
 “We have committed that every Canal Flats employee who wants to stay with the company will be given the opportunity to do so,” Stavness said.
The closure will take 180-million-board-feet-per-year of production capacity out of Canfor’s overall 5.8 billion-board-feet-per year capacity across its operations in Canada and the U.S. In 2014, it produced 3.7 billion board feet of lumber at its Canadian operations.