Weyerhaeuser sale won’t make much difference, says Johnson

  • Feb. 18, 2005 8:00 p.m.

Weyerhaeuser Co. Ltd. announced Friday that it’s selling its BC coastal forestry operations to Toronto-based Brascan Corp.
The $1.2-billion sale includes annual harvesting rights to 3.6 million cubic metres of timber on crown land, including a tree farm licence on the Charlottes, as well as 258,000 hectare of private timberland, mostly on Vancouver Island. The sale also includes five sawmills and two remanufacturing facilities.
At a press conference Friday morning, officials from both companies said the sale shows the provincial government’s forestry policy reforms are having a positive effect on the forest industry.
Reid Carter, managing partner of Brascan Timberlands Asset Management, said he will be leaving Vancouver Monday morning to meet with community leaders, union leaders and First Nations in every community affected by the sale.
He also said the sale will repatriate a significant chunk of assets to a Canadian company. Weyerhaeuser, an American company and the largest forestry company in the world, purchased the assets from BC-based MacMillan Bloedel in 1999.
In Port Clements, councilor Gerry Johnson said he didn’t think the sale would make much difference to the village. Many Port residents work either directly or indirectly for the company.
“I don’t really have my hopes up that anything is going to improve,” Mr. Johnson said, adding that what Port would like to see is “a meaningful effort to work with all the communities here instead of being the enemy.”
Mr. Johnson said it will be very interesting to see how the sale proceeds, given that the TFL on the islands is encumbered by a Haida Nation claim.
“I’m really interested to see how that is going to play out,” he said. “I just don’t think they can run roughshod over the Haida interest that’s been proven in the highest court in the land.”