A Cariboo family is breathing life back into the former C&C Wood Products mill in Quesnel this month.
Kandola Forest Products (KCP) announced it would begin operations at the specialty products mill in late April, starting with 25 employees and ramping up to 90 by the end of the year.
“We see enormous potential in this facility,” said KCP president Neal Kandola, who was born and raised in Williams Lake.
The former C&C Wood Products Ltd. and Westside Logging Ltd. (WSL) filed for bankruptcy on June 2, 2020 just days after shutting down May 29, 2020. The mill had been operating since 1977, most of that time as a family-owned operation, employing 185 at its height.
“Some of these employees have been out of work since the shutdown,” Kandola said.
In 2020, a group called the Quesnel Investment Corporation (QIC) purchased the bankrupt mill. QIC announced an agreement to sell the mill in March of 2021 and still own the logging division.
“We are confident that we will restore the sawmill as a successful, stable, long-term employer and operator in the City of Quesnel, given the thoughtful and thorough due diligence we undertook in considering our purchase,” Kandola said in a statement. “Over the coming years, we will be exploring further investments that will increase our employment numbers to greater than previous peak numbers.”
“We have some of the best fibre in the world in the Cariboo,” he said.
The mill manufactures engineered wood, interior wall paneling and shiplap, and mass timber glulam products for the home renovation market, which was, until the bankruptcy, sold at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Aside from having a niche, high-in-demand product for the market, former C&C Wood Products also had a secure timber supply. Kandola did not comment on who holds that timber supply.
The Observer will be touring the mill on April 19.
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