Vancouver-based Canfor says one of its mills is closing for good and another will be shut down for an extended period of time as it restructures its BC operations. The company says the sawmill and pellet plant in Chetwynd north of Prince George is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2023. Meanwhile, it says the sawmill in Houston, west of Prince George, will close temporarily for an unspecified period as Canfor plans to build a more modern plant in the community. Canfor president Don Kayne says the company is making difficult but necessary decisions to create a more sustainable operating footprint in the province.
The chief of Williams Lake First Nation in central B-C has a message for anyone questioning the legitimacy of investigations into suspected unmarked graves around the former residential school near his community. Chief Willie Sellars says the investigations are about bringing truth to light, and the probe at the former Catholic-run St. Joseph’s Mission has uncovered overwhelming evidence of horror and suffering. And he says that evidence is being carefully compiled in an orderly and scientific way. Sellars’ remarks came as the lead investigator in the search at St. Joseph’s announced the second phase of their work has identified 66 more “reflections,” adding to the initial 93 potential graves already detected.
Environment Canada has issued special weather statements for most of BC, saying Arctic air will begin to “invade” the province starting Friday night. The weather office says temperatures will be five to 10 degrees below seasonal across the South Coast, marking a “major shift” in a month that’s so far been mild. Meanwhile, Environment Canada says the mercury will drop 10 to 20 degrees below the usual for this time of year in central B-C and the southern Interior. It says gusty winds will accompany the cold air, and while temperatures are expected to rise late next week, the timing is uncertain.
A Fraser Valley masseur has pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault, with some counts involving more than one complainant. The BC Prosecution Service confirms the man who operated a business called “Bud’s Massage Therapy” entered the plea earlier this week. Police in Abbotsford announced the charges in 2020 after three women reported they were assaulted while receiving treatment there. The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia says the man has never been a registered member.
The union representing firefighters in Vancouver is sounding the alarm over a lack of resources to address the city’s growing demands for emergency services. The local chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters says fire and rescue personnel responded to more than 65-thousand calls last year — including seven-thousand related to drug overdoses. It says that represents an 18 per cent increase in demand since 2018, and the city needs to hire 55 more firefighters to meet the need. The union says it also recorded a 70 per cent increase in outdoor fires, and it’s especially concerned about safety in vulnerable neighbourhoods.