A $100 million expansion at Dunkley Lumber sawmill in Carrot River is expected to create 240 new direct and indirect jobs through growth in lumber sales and exports.
The Government of Saskatchewan announced on Sept. 10 that they approved timber allocations to support the proposed expansion. The province allocates timber through the Ministry of Energy and Resources.
While the province is allocating some of the additional timber required for this project, the majority of timber will be secured by the company through commercial agreements negotiated with Indigenous timber allocation holders and private landowners.
Brennan Hall, Carrot River’s administrator, called the development “huge” for the community.
“Dunkley is one of the main core businesses that drives this town and employs a lot of our residents and people in the community,” Hall said.
“You go around town and talk to people, and when you’re talking about Carrot River the mills come up all the time. The people of Carrot River pride themselves on that industry and how we’re able to be one of the top dogs within that industry.”
In anticipation of contractors to help build the expansion, he said that the town is preparing to expand their RV park. The town hopes to begin before winter.
“The first thing is going to be the RV park, then who knows what’s next. We’ll play it by ear and see what other demands of things go up.”
According to Rob Novak, president with Dunkley Lumber, the sawmill will add a second saw line and increase production over five phases of development by the fall of 2023.
“Saskatchewan is clearly open for business and refreshing to work with,” Novak said. “We really appreciate the response from the province in the form of a timber allocation increase to help support our capital investments in Carrot River."
The expansion is planned to increase lumber production capacity by 75 per cent, from the current 130 million board feet of lumber annually to 230 million board feet, requiring approximately 821,000 m3 of softwood timber.
Dunkley Lumber is a privately owned Canadian forestry company with three sawmills in western Canada. The Carrot River mill, originally constructed in 1976, was acquired by Dunkley in 2019 and operates as Edgewood Forest Products.
Jessica Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal