The entire supply chain that feeds sawmills with logs has seen a reduction in work, including 400 people at three mills in the B.C. Interior town of Mackenzie. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Price of lumber leaves B.C. logging town ‘in crisis’

I’ve never been there, but Mackenzie B.C. sure looks like a gorgeous place.

Located within the province’s Northern Rocky Mountain Trench, the town is known as the “Gateway to Williston Lake” the largest man-made lake in Canada.

But right now, things aren’t all that pretty in Mackenzie.

For years, logs harvested from forests in the Mackenzie area have been towed on the Williston Reservoir to local mills. (Andy Schlitt/Contributed )

It’s a logging town in a province that’s reeling from the ill-effects low lumber prices.

About two weeks ago three Mackenzie sawmills shut down.

All of a sudden, 400 people–about a 10th of the town’s population–were out of work.

Mackenzie’s pulp mill is still operating but Mackenzie’s mayor fears hundreds more people could be out of work if the pulp mill shuts down because it can’t access the sawdust it needs from local mills. (MacKenzie Pulp Mill Corporation)

And things could get worse.

The pulp mill is still running, but it needs product from the town’s sawmills to operate.

“We’re a community in crisis,” says Mackenzie Mayor Joan Atkinson. (Coutesy of Regional District of Fraser-Fort George)

“We’re a community in crisis. There is no other way to say it,” Mackenzie Mayor Joan Atkinson told CBC News’ Betsy Trumpener.

“I have a roller coaster of emotions. I’m very worried…for the people in our community that need to have jobs. How are we going to help them through?”

I spoke by phone with Mayor Atkinson on Wednesday.

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