THE WILLIAMS LAKE TRIBUNE — In operation since March 2019, Tolko’s newest low-cost, high-efficiency Lakeview sawmill is up to full speed and operating at its expected performance level.

Enveloping a slightly smaller footprint than the 1950s mill it replaced, the mill features a basement with 20-foot ceilings, making it more accessible, while the main operating floor offers a direct line for the manufacturing of logs coming in and rough lumber being processed out.

The site now has a steel fabricated building and an all-concrete basement, which is an important consideration for the fire rating and protection.

Previously, the mill was an old wooden structure with low ceilings. Not only is the new mill more efficient, but it also contains the latest technology and has been built with the future timber supply in mind.

The timber supply is shifting, and Tolko is transitioning from a dead, pine beetle log supply to a greener future profile. We designed the mill for future specialty products and sizes, which gives us more flexibility with our product to expanding markets.

One of the more exciting challenges with the new mill has been training workers on using human-machine interface for connecting to the controls of the equipment, including the 22-inch dual and 35-inch single ring debarkers, vision scanning equipment for the new board edger, in-line lumber cant profiling machine, and more.

Jason Favel, Lakeview Lumber’s plant manager says the success of the new mill has been accredited to the entire sawmill team.

“Both hourly and staff in all departments have worked together to make the operation an extremely safe and efficient manufacturing facility,” Favel said. “During the rebuild, we gave staff accountability for certain sections of the mill. Everyone in some capacity was involved with the start-up of the mill, so it created ownership. This has created engagement in all areas of the mill. The whole Lakeview team really worked together to get the new mill in working order without incident.”

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