The end of August and summer brought good news to the community of Hornepayne. The town had been devastated by the closure of the former Olav Haavaldsrud Timber (OHT) sawmill after a three-week shutdown that began November 27th, 2015. 150 employees, the spinoff layoffs affecting another 50 or so, meant that an estimated 40% of the community had been affected.
Price Waterhouse Coopers, the court appointed receiver and manager over the assets of the Olav Haavaldsrud Timber Company concluded the sale with Hornepayne Lumber GP Inc. The man behind Hornepayne Lumber GP Inc., is Frank Dottori White River Forest Products Chair and CEO. At the helm, Dottori has successfully re-opened WRPL and another in Témiscaming, Quebec. In 2015, new $15-million production line was installed at White River Forest Products to boost production output.
The sale doesn’t include the Becker Cogeneration Plant. Dottori has said that he is in negotiations to purchase it as well.
There are still details to be worked out in the union negotiations with the millworkers, members of United Steelworkers USW Local 1-2010. On August 31st, there was a USW membership meeting to discuss the new ownership, the restart and other concerns.
This is another bold step into the revitalization of the forestry industry in this area, and may offer opportunities between the two mills who may be able to integrate their wood supply.
The Olav Haavaldsrud Timber Company was founded by Olav and Elna Haavaldsrud in 1953, and operated as a pulp lumber mill. The mill diversified, manufacturing rough and dressed lumber. In 2013, the Becker Cogeneration plant opened using Haavaldsrud wood byproducts and wood forest biomass to generate electricity for the provincial power grid and produce heat for the sawmill and kiln operations.