Brief: Downie Timber to be on brief shutdown

Revelstoke mill plans to reopen after four-day shutdown.

File photo: Workers sort lumber at the Downie Timber sawmill in Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Revelstoke’s Downie Timber sawmill will halt production for a shortened week in early September in order to reduce inventory.

The mill is scheduled to be down from Sept. 3–6, for a total of eight shifts. The mill will be back in operation on Sept. 9. The sawmill currently operates on two shifts per day.

Downie Plant Manager, Angus Woodman, said bad weather such as flooding in parts of central Canada and the eastern US, led to reduced demand, causing inventory to increase. “That’s largely related to the weather in those areas past summer,” Woodman said.

The weather dampened construction and also caused disruptions in distribution.

The planer mill is also operating on two shifts per day as normal for summer operations, and will go down to one shift per day in September. Woodman said it is usual for the planer mill to operate on two shifts between May to August to meet summer demand, then reduce to one shift in the fall. He added that warm fall weather could increase demand.

Mill shutdowns and closures in B.C. have been in the news this summer. Woodman said the situation is different for Downie. The mill closures have typically come at dimensional lumber production mills. Downie is focused on specialty products, such as cedar products for fencing, decks and other specialty applications.

Woodman says Downie’s focus on specialization sets the Revelstoke producer apart from the woes in other areas of B.C.

“I think it bodes well for us. We are not a commodity producer,” Woodman said. “I think our positioning of Revelstoke is quite central to the highest value logs.”

Woodman added that Downie has expanded its market presence in Japan, a market that hasn’t had the same market price disruption as North American markets.

Woodman says the mill isn’t planning further closures. “There is nothing further planned,” he said. “The intention is the run the sawmill at two shifts.”

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