Western Forest Products plans to invest C$200m to upgrade the infrastructure at its facility on Vancouver Island.

According to Iain Donaldson, the company’s manager of strategic planning and manufacturing, the programme includes investing C$125m in strategic capital and another C$75m in maintenance capital.

The first step of this capital investment strategy is the C$16m upgrade of the Saltair Sawmill in Ladysmith, British Columbia. The upgrade to the sawmill’s edgers, stacker and sorter will increase production by 15% and decrease the per-unit cost of production.

The project includes a new stacker, sorter rebuild and extension, a new trimline and two new board edgers. It will take about a year to complete.

The Saltair mill currently produces about 160 million board feet per year by turning coastal mid-size logs into high value specialised products in Hemlock, Douglas fir and Western Red Cedar.

The mill employs about 140 people and ships product to Japan, China, North America, Europe and Australia.