Praise should come at least as quickly as concern.

With news this week that San Group has bought another mill in the Valley, it is becoming clear they are here to stay and in a way we have not seen other companies do for a long time.

A few years ago when I heard of the possibility that San Group was going to buy the Coulson mill, and then build on Stamp, I was skeptical and apprehensive. The community had spent a lot of time, effort and $75,000 in 2013/2014 planning on the redevelopment of the “Waterfront North” area including the formerly unoccupied Catalyst land. There was a lot at stake.

However, San Group has proven to be different. It has kept the Coulson mill outside of town running and is building another that had been planned for Stamp but was moved outside of town after hearing from the community. San Group has now built a modern remanufacturing plant, with a much smaller impact at Stamp and bought a fourth facility on Hector road.

The company seems committed to making the most out of their investment and squeezing the most value for themselves and this community out of every tree they process while also listening to the community. We need forestry companies that maximize local processing and value, not ship it away. San Group deserves praise for seeing that potential, and the potential of the people of the Alberni Valley.

P.S. I wrote this before finding out about the fire at the San Group facility. I further hope San Group is undeterred and continues its work as a new member of our community.

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