Cheslatta Carrier Nation is currently in talks with the provincial government to build a mill that would process burned wood south of Burns Lake. (Lakes District News file photo)

Cheslatta Carrier Nation proposes mill to process burned wood south of Burns Lake

The nation is currently in talks with the provincial government

Cheslatta Carrier Nation (CCN) is trying to make the best of a bad situation.

With hundreds of thousands of hectares of burned forests on the Southside, CCN is currently in talks with the provincial government to build a mill that would process all this burned wood.

The proposed mill would be strategically placed in the middle of the fires burning on the Southside, according to Mike Robertson, CCN’s senior policy advisor.

“We are fully engaged in exploring the opportunity to process the burned trees and be fully involved in the short and long-term recovery process,” he told Lakes District News. “We are confident that by working together, the Southside community will be successful in healing our land, our community and sustaining the economy.”

Robertson says that in order for this project to become a reality, however, the provincial government would have to commit to improving CCN’s power generation capability.

“That’s the biggest deficiency that we have out there,” said Robertson. “We’re still living on 1950s power on the Southside.”

Cheslatta’s current single-phase electrical power is a relic from the 1950s, when 120,000 acres of the Southside were flooded in order to create hydroelectric generation for Kitimat, hundreds of miles away.

Robertson says that Cheslatta Forest Products, which employed 140 people between 2000 and 2008, might still exist if the nation had access to three-phase electrical power at the time.

“The mill consumed 1.5 million litres of diesel per year; when the economic crisis occurred in 2007, fuel prices rose to $1.30 per litre and lumber dropped below $200 per thousand board feet, which created a fatal perfect storm.”

According to Robertson, three-phase electrical power would also allow agriculture and other industries to expand operations on the Southside.

“We have been lobbying for three-phase [electrical power] for almost 20 years, and to date the government has never seriously considered upgrading the regional power grid to allow for economic and industrial growth in our region,” he said. “The Southside has incredible opportunity before us; we just need the government to reinvest in an area that has created so much wealth for the rest of the province for over a hundred years.”

“To recover from this disaster, that’s one thing that government could do,” he added. “Without the power, we’ll just dream about it.”

RELATED: Cheslatta, B.C. to finalize agreements “before the end of 2018”



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Burns Lake residents honour Jessica Patrick

The 18-year-old Lake Babine Nation member from Smithers has recently lost her life

Area restrictions rescinded in northwest B.C.

The orders will be rescinded Sept. 19 at noon

Burns Lake participates in the 55+ Games

This year’s 55+ BC Games (previously the BC Seniors Games) had 16… Continue reading

Verdun Mountain and Nadina Lake fires 100 per cent contained

Area restriction orders in effect for several fires

Vigil for Jessica Patrick

VIDEOS: Hundreds honour a young mother who lost her life. Jessica Patrick was 18.

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read