San Group Inc. has signed an agreement to purchase land on the Port Alberni Catalyst Paper mill site to build a new sawmill. The announcement comes less than a week after San Group announced it will start a third shift at its Coulson Mill on the outskirts of Port Alberni, expanding its workforce.
Under terms of the deal, San Group will purchase 25-acres of the Catalyst Paper mill site in Port Alberni, in the corner bordering Stamp Avenue and Roger Street.
It is anticipated construction of a new sawmill will create 50 new jobs in phase one, followed by an additional 85 jobs, once phases two and three are operational, according to a San Group press release. The deal also provides additional supply of wood chips to supplement production for Catalyst’s operations in B.C., which will ensure greater viability and security for the company and its more than 1,500-person workforce, according to San Group.
“Today’s agreement demonstrates how two complementary industries can work together,” said San Group CEO Kamal Sanghera. “We have found a perfect synergy between two Canadian manufacturers and it’s the proverbial win-win for both the companies and the local workforce.”
The agreement represents a total investment of between $60-$70 million dollars by the family-owned San Group Inc. for the construction of a new sawmill that will ensure smaller diameter logs can be utilized for manufacturing in B.C. It is anticipated construction will begin next spring.
“Of primary importance to the San Group is the opportunity to take Canadian-owned resources, and create local jobs out of them,” said Sanghera. “We take great pride in maximizing every aspect of the wood product, from harvesting to processing and remanufacturing. The economic, environmental and societal impacts are an important aspect of this agreement.”
The greenbelt currently on the corner of the property will remain, says AJ Cheema, vice-president of corporate affairs for San Group. “None of the trees are being removed. We’re going to be adding greenery.”
San Group is a Canadian-based producer of forest products with its roots in the industry since 1979. The company has evolved from a small lumber remanufacturing facility to a multi-level forest products corporation with more than 30-years of exporting experience to a global community.