Mild fall weather helps rebuild of Lakeland Mills in Prince George, British Columbia, says CEO of principal owner Sinclar Group, notes work is scheduled for start-up in fall 2014

LOS ANGELES , November 22, 2013 () – The first quarter of construction at the Lakeland Mills Ltd. sawmill in Prince George, British Columbia, is on schedule after a groundbreaking ceremony on July 22, the Prince George Citizen reported on  Nov. 22.

Greg Stewart, president and CEO of Sinclar Group Forest Products Ltd., principal owner of the Lakeland operation, said the rebuild was going well and had been kept on schedule by the mild fall weather.

Stewart said the build had faced a minor issue with preparing the ground for foundations, but the project was on track and the company was optimistic that fall 2014 would be its start-up date.

According to Stewart, the long period of time between the fatal explosion at the mill in April 2012 and the first day of construction had given the company time to research the construction process. He said Sinclar officials felt comfortable with the availability of materials and labor.

An investigation into the blast is still under way by the provincial government and other investigation agencies, noted The prince George Citizen. The conclusions of those investigations have yet to be disclosed, but the company has chosen to move ahead with the rebuild.

Staffing at the mill when it reopens has yet to be decided, and Stewart noted that many from the crew working at the time of the blast were now involved in therapy or other recovery processes. He said the company was already considering how to deal with those circumstances.

Stewart said he believed that demand would be strong for the mill's lumber when it comes back on stream.

The company has an on-site webcam recording the progress of construction, which can be viewed at www.sinclar.com/lakelandmills.

Sinclar also owns a non-operational sawmill property adjacent to the Lakeland site, the former Winton Global operation. In addition, the company owns a dormant sawmill at Bear Lake, The Prince George Citizen reported.

Stewart said Sinclar was currently evaluating the best opportunities for property and equipment, adding that a number of parties had expressed an interest, although the company had not yet decided whether to explore a sale or find uses for the mills within the company. He added that Sinclar had considered restarting the mill after the Lakeland fire, but had decided the equipment was not suitable to produce the lumber favored by Lakeland customers.

The primary source of this article is The Prince George Citizen, Prince George, British Columbia, on Nov. 22, 2013.

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