By Heidi Bevington–A new pole peeling plant just getting into production this week in Port Clements could create as many as 13 jobs for islanders.
“It’s a family operation, and we’ve all put a lot of effort into it, and we hope it’s going to work,” says owner Randy O’Brien.
The plant will peel bark off of cedar, pine and hemlock poles 8-40 inches in diameter for telephone and power poles, says Mr. O’Brien. The poles will support utility and transmission lines. They could also be used as pilings for wharves and breakwaters, or for log homes.
The project began two years ago, says Mr. O’Brien. So far, 8-10 people have been employed in the set up phase. Once the plant is up and running, 3-4 people will work in the plant, another 6 will work in the bush gathering materials and 2-3 will be involved in transporting the poles, most of which will be barged off islands.
The timber will come from the O’Brien’s small business timber license as well as from other small businesses operating in the forests. He says the company has been stockpiling suitable timber for a year to accumulate an inventory.
The O’Brien’s invested half a million dollars in the mill, as well as money for the property. They are now hiring and would like to hire local people. Anyone interested in working at the mill, can contact Randy O’Brien as 557-4282.
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