South Peace News
Tolko Industries and Driftpile Cree Nation have signed an agreement to operate a part of the High Prairie OSB plant.
Documents were signed Oct. 5 at the mill that will re-open to its full capacity in January.
“This is a milestone for Driftpile and Tolko,” says Driftpile Chief Dwayne Laboucan.
“Working with Drift- pile shows that Tolko supports First Nations.”
Driftpile signed a contract to operate the logyard service, which involces unloading all logging trucks, decking the logs and feeding them into the mill, says David Bickerton, general manager of prairie woodlands with Tolko.
“We have an agreement that is a real testament to be able to work together,” he says.
“This is going to be a good working relationship and I think we’re all pretty excited.”
Initiated one month ago, the contract creates a boost in employment opportunities for Driftpile.
“We expect to hire 15-20 people full time,” Laboucan says.
“We are happy to be working for Tolko.”
Another member of council is grateful for the partnership.
“Driftpile is excited about the new opportunities for its members,” says Councillor Starr Sasakamoose.
“We especially thank Dave for all his hard work.”
Tolko received the first load of logs on Sept. 14. Currently, 20-30 loads are delivered daily.
When fully operational, the mill will employ up to 175 people directly and 225 indirectly.
The mill will operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, producing OSB, most commonly used for sheathing in walls, flooring and roof decking for markets around the world.
The proposed harvesting plan has been drafted in consultation with Aboriginal, Metis and general communities.
Proposed areas include Whitefish First Nation, southeast of Snipe Lake, northeast of McLennan, Whitemud Creek, south of Valleyview and west of Spirit River.
The plan must be approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.