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  • Vaagen Fibre Canada

A Message from the Vaagen Family

Regarding the Shut Down of Vaagen Fibre Canada


Midway, B.C.: By way of this press release, our family wants to share a message with the many communities throughout the Boundary, West Kootenay, and Okanagan regions where most of our Vaagen Fibre Canada employees, contractors, vendors, suppliers, and other key partners reside and work.


On January 5, 2023, we let our dedicated mill staff of 85 employees, as well as nearly 100 contractors, vendors, and/or suppliers know that we will be shutting down our Midway mill, Vaagen Fibre Canada, indefinitely. Our workers, their families, suppliers, and contractors will be impacted, not to mention the countless businesses our employees support like local restaurants, stores, and other general services in the rural communities in the local area. Although the news we are sharing is not good news, we are steadfastly committed to continue to look for solutions for every possible way forward. If you would like to show your support, we encourage you to follow the suggested instructions at the end of this release.


Let us share our situation. Vaagen Fibre Canada is a non-tenured mill and has been operating in Midway without forest tenure for the past 10 years. As a non-tenured mill, we do not have forest licences to manage Crown forests, which means we must purchase all our logs on the open market including the procurement of logs from local private landowners and woodlot owners. Although our team has been creative for years in finding logs to run our mill, there are a few challenges that have compounded for us, and without resolution, the future of our operation is uncertain. This is an access to wood fibre at market price issue.


We have put forward several solutions to the Ministry of Forests to help us reopen Vaagen Fibre Canada.


We have also been working with local MLA Roly Russell to set up a meeting with the former Minister of Forests, Katrine Conroy, and with the recent changes in cabinet, now the new Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston. The goal of this meeting is to review the solutions we believe could keep the mill viable for years to come. Our Vaagen family and team members are committed to finding solutions and doing all we can to keep Vaagen Fibre Canada viable, providing quality, good paying jobs, and supporting our rural communities.


We would like to note that we are appreciative of the work of the Ministry of Forests and all the people who work for the Ministry, most notably in our local forest district. Their willingness to communicate, collaborate, and solve unique and challenging situations is a big part of how Vaagen Fibre Canada has been able to do so much within our communities, in collaboration with First Nations, and to build the capacity of our local community forest. We all want to keep moving forward, providing those social, environmental, and economic benefits to our region and to the families who rely on us.


Our family and leadership team are looking for any and every opportunity to reopen, and we believe it is possible. Back in 2008, Pope & Talbot, Inc., the previous owners of the Midway mill, closed the mill and left the community. Back then, the people of the area rallied to save the mill. This is where you come in.


We encourage you to respectfully email MLA Roly Russell, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development. Let him know how important the mill is to our communities and ask him to bring the voice of the people forward to the Minister of Forests to find solutions to help Vaagen Fibre Canada reopen. We have included a form letter at the bottom of this document to help make this easier for you.


Contact Information for MLA Roly Russell: roly.russell.MLA@leg.bc.ca | 250.498.5122


We are confident that together, we can find solutions to turn this situation around so that we may continue to work together, providing good jobs to the people and families of the Boundary, West Kootenay, and Okanagan regions.


Sincerely,

Duane Vaagen, President, Vaagen Fibre Canada

Emily Vaagen Baker, Lean Team Leader, Vaagen Brothers Lumber

Kurtis Vaagen, Vice President, Vaagen Brothers Lumber


 

MLA Roly Russell

PO Box 1592

Grand Forks, B.C., V0H 1H0

roly.russell.MLA@leg.bc.ca


re: Support to find solutions to help re-open Vaagen Fibre Canada


(DATE)


Dear MLA Russell,


I am saddened to hear that the 85 team members/employees of Vaagen Fibre Canada and nearly 100 contractors/vendors/suppliers who work in collaboration with the mill were told that the Midway mill will be closing indefinitely. This closure will impact not only many employees and their families, but local businesses, and many others who work and live in our rural communities.


In a press release to the community, Duane Vaagen, President of Vaagen Fibre Canada, shared that there may be several solutions to help solve the challenges the mill is facing.


As our MLA and the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development who is committed to helping local families and communities thrive, I am signing this letter asking you to bring the voice of your constituents to the new Minister of Forests and his team to find solutions to help Vaagen Fibre Canada re-open.


Thank you,


Signature


Your Name (please print):


Your Town/Community (please print):


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