San Group owners Suki, left, and Kamal Sanghera and general manager Bruce Molander oversee operations at San’s new mill in Port Alberni, San Group Specialty Mill. The company purchased the shuttered Chalwood Forest Products operation on Hector Road. (April 24, 2020) (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

San Group owners Suki, left, and Kamal Sanghera and general manager Bruce Molander oversee operations at San’s new mill in Port Alberni, San Group Specialty Mill. The company purchased the shuttered Chalwood Forest Products operation on Hector Road. (April 24, 2020) (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

San Group buys specialty sawmill in Port Alberni

Forestry company continues work on Island expansion plans

San Group has purchased another mill in Port Alberni.

The Surrey-based forestry group bought the former Chalwood Forest Products mill on Hector Road a month ago, and is already operating while they clean up the site.

Chalwood used to cut yellow cedar exclusively for the Japanese temple market, and was able to cut 20–40-foot long timbers. The Chalwood mill had been shut down for more than a year, owner Kamal Sanghera said. San Group was still able to hire back “most” of the employees laid off when the mill shut down.

There are 15 workers operating the mill right now, and when it is up to full capacity Sanghera says another 15 will be hired for a total staff of 30. Bruce Molander is the general manager overseeing the new San Forest Specialty mill on Hector Road.

READ: San Group’s remanufacturing plant takes shape in Port Alberni

Acquisition of the new mill means San Group can literally take a tree from harvest to home, says Sanghera. Kamal and his brother Suki were at the new mill site on Friday, April 24 to watch the first official load of specialty-cut lumber leave the site.

San Group has a mill at the former Coulson Sawmill site—which they purchased a few years ago—that can handle large logs. They are building a second mill for smaller diameter logs at the Coulson site, and now San Forest Specialty will be able to handle longer logs and lower grade wood. They will also be able to use more of the fibre, which will help once the remanufacturing plant at San’s third site, on Stamp Avenue, is complete.

“This was the component that was missing,” Kamal Sanghera said.

“This is not high production, but you do specialty work here; how to get more value out of the same tree. This will help us use unutilized fibre.”

The scragg mill at the new site allows them to turn even the lowest quality log into short pieces of lumber and even chips to supply Paper Excellence Canada, the former Catalyst Paper mill.

“We can do everything in house. It will give us the flexibility to take specialty orders from our customer base around the globe,” without shipping raw logs elsewhere, he said.

The Sangheras plan on upgrading the machinery at San Forest Specialty so they will be able to cut red cedar, fir, Sitka spruce and hemlock. “We’re taking it one step further than what they were doing here.”

There is also room to expand on the property at San Forest Specialty, and since it is in a rural area, surrounded by a natural berm, noise abatement is not an issue, Kamal Sanghera added.

In the meantime, work continues at both the Coulson Sawmill site, where the second mill is still under construction, and the remanufacturing site at the corner of Stamp Avenue and Roger Street.

The second mill is a month behind, but the first test fire should happen at the end of May. Restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic have put progress at the reman plant behind, Sanghera said. Landscaping of the perimeter of San’s property began on Friday and construction continues at the site.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictforestryPORT ALBERNI

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

San Group owners Suki, left, and Kamal Sanghera and general manager Bruce Molander oversee operations at San’s new mill in Port Alberni, San Group Specialty Mill. The company purchased the shuttered Chalwood Forest Products operation on Hector Road. (April 24, 2020) (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

San Group owners Suki, left, and Kamal Sanghera and general manager Bruce Molander oversee operations at San’s new mill in Port Alberni, San Group Specialty Mill. The company purchased the shuttered Chalwood Forest Products operation on Hector Road. (April 24, 2020) (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Darren van Dyk loads the first official truck of lumber produced at San Group Specialty Mill on Friday, April 24, 2020, west of Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)                                Darren van Dyk loads the first official truck of lumber produced at San Group Specialty Mill on Friday, April 24, 2020, west of Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Darren van Dyk loads the first official truck of lumber produced at San Group Specialty Mill on Friday, April 24, 2020, west of Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News) Darren van Dyk loads the first official truck of lumber produced at San Group Specialty Mill on Friday, April 24, 2020, west of Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Darren van Dyk loads the first official truck of lumber produced at San Group Specialty Mill on Friday, April 24, 2020, west of Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Darren van Dyk loads the first official truck of lumber produced at San Group Specialty Mill on Friday, April 24, 2020, west of Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Just Posted

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits Nanoose Bay property

Experts say interesting look may simply be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

The section of Highway 19A between Laburnum Road and Goodyear Road was closed to traffic due to a single vehicular accident. (DriveBC illustration)
Section of highway closed after vehicle hits telephone pole near Qualicum Beach

Traffic disrupted for hours; two people taken to hospital

Joan LeMoine. (Peter McCully photo)
OPINION: Joan LeMoine represented the very best in all of us

Beloved Parksville area volunteer left an indelible mark on the community

Seiners fill the waters between Comox and Nanoose Bay during roe herring fishery. file photo, Pacific Wild
Quota debate heats up on the eve of Vancouver Island herring fishery

Industry and conservationists weigh in how much catch should be allowed as DFO decision coming soon

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Nursing staff at West Coast General Hospital celebrate the announcement of a $6.25-million expansion of the emergency department that will start in March 2021. (File photo)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read