Burns Lake operator expanding with a Houston sawmill

The new mill will employ up to twelve workers and employ another 24 people in the forest either harvesting or hauling logs.

Burns Lake’s Klaus Posselt, owner of Tahtsa Timber and long-time forestry entrepreneur, has purchased industrial property in Houston and will be opening a small mill there, possibly by next summer.

The Houston site was formerly a specialty wood operation with several buildings and a bandsaw still in place. Those existing facilities will be supplemented by a sawmill being imported from the U.S., and possibly by relocating an under-utilized building from Burns Lake to Houston.

The new mill will employ up to twelve workers and employ another 24 people in the forest either harvesting or hauling logs.

The Houston mill will be the third mill he owns, adding to the small Burns Lake Mill in the Burns Lake industrial park and the Sheraton Mill near town which he purchased from the Burns Lake Community Forest last year.

The Houston property – something Posselt has had his eye on for 15 years – has significant advantages over other property available to him. Besides appropriate zoning, the Houston property has rail and highway access and most importantly, it has off-highway access.

Off-highway access means larger, heavier loads hauled directly into the yard without highway load restrictions.

The advantages of the Houston site do not mean Posselt’s Burns Lake sawmills will be closed.

“I’ve put significant money into Sheraton, and we still have plans to upgrade the Burns Lake mill,” Posselt said. “We fully intend to keep the Sheraton and Burns Lake mills running. Each mill has its own focus. The Burns Lake mill will do most of the stuff for the oil patch, Sheraton will do over-size product, and the Houston mill will focus on the Chinese market.”

The Chinese market for wood usually means log exports, but Posselt has never been interested in exporting logs.

“Almost every Chinese buyer that comes along wants to export logs,” Posselt said. “On this side of the Coast mountains, there’s not much margin in it. But even if there was some margin, I would want to process the logs here. I’m not interested in exporting logs.”

Posselt’s export operation produces cant – basically a squared log – for shipment. The buyer can complete the milling to whatever dimension desired, or use the cant cuts in industrial and road building operations.

The residual wood that Posselt harvests is good for milling cant thanks to its lighter, dry weight.  It doesn’t have the higher market value of green wood, but it has its place.

“For some of the stuff we make, low-grade wood is actually a benefit,” he explained. “It resists twisting and it’s not expensive to transport.”

Focussing on so-called low-grade wood has been Posselt’s niche in the region. The large forest license holders are not interested in salvaging low-grade wood, and much of it would have been burnt in the forest as waste.

“Up to three-quarters of what we run in these mills [Sheraton and Burns Lake] is material the big mills were burning in the bush,” Posselt said. “This is one of the  most satisfying things I’ve done in my life, taking something that was going to go to waste or just getting burnt and making something of value.”

 

Just Posted

Police seek tipster in Jack family’s case

The Cheslatta family went missing 29 years ago

Verdun Mountain Fire now adjacent to Keefe’s Landing Road

B.C. Wildfire Service trying to keep the road open

Wildfires showing “aggressive behaviour”

Over the weekend the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) expanded the evacuation… Continue reading

Wildfires in the Burns Lake region continue to grow

Wildfires in the Burns Lake region continued to grow yesterday, with some… Continue reading

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Woman missing after car swept away by mudslide near Cache Creek

A search is now underway for Valerie Morris, who has been missing since the afternoon of August 11.

Most Read