In early April, almost one year since the tragedy at Lakeland Mills (see post), I was in Prince George to attend the COFI Convention. While there, I had the opportunity to connect with Sinclar’s President and CEO Greg Stewart at lunch, before heading off to a scheduled meeting with Derek Zral, Export Sales Manager, at the Sinclar office. Fresh off the company’s decision in March to rebuild the sawmill, one couldn’t help but feel a sense of renewal at Sinclar. Energy was high throughout the visit. So it was with real interest that I read about the emotional breaking of the ground at Lakeland earlier this week. In his remarks, Greg Stewart said “We wish this tragedy had never happened, but we are committed to learning from the experience. This new sawmill will be a specialized, future-looking mill that will meet the needs of our employees from the perspective of health, safety and a welcoming working environment.”

A report here in The Prince George Citizen includes the impressive attention to environmental stewardship in effect on site. “Ninety per cent or more of the materials (on the site after the blast) were recycled or reclaimed for use in the new facility,” said the mill’s maintenance superintendent Garth Turner. “All the metals were separated and grouped, either for scrap metal sale or salvage. The old concrete was crushed for use as new aggregate. All the rebar – the reinforcement steel – was broken free from the concrete for recycling. Almost everything was put to use in some way.”

Scheduled to open in August 2014, the new mill will be state of the art. It will continue to produce stud lumber, with the ability to manufacture metric lengths in addition to the American Lumber Standard. It is expected to have a capacity of approximately 200 million FBM. It will be integrated with the existing planer mill, which is still operational, and the energy system Lakeland operates in partnership with the City of Prince George. I’ve learned there are even plans to have a construction webcam available at the Sinclar website. The following images of Monday’s groundbreaking were provided by PRMedia, posted here with their permission.

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