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Chamber will help with fallout from Vaagan layoffs

The Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce says it will be at the table to help after scores of staff and contractors at the Vaagen Fibre mill learned they’ll be out of a job.

The West Midway mill announced Friday that nearly 200 staff and contractors are being laid off indefinitely – some right away and others once log inventory runs out by the middle of next month.

Chamber Executive Director Sarah Dinsdale says there are resources in the region to help turn this situation around for the workers.

“With the chamber we’re going to be working with Community Futures, they’ve got Work BC, and the local MLA Roly Russell. I mean, we all have a good working relationship and I think we’re all going to be sitting down at the table to talk about this and see what we can do to support and assist everybody,” Dinsdale told Vista Radio.

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Dinsdale adds the chamber recently applied for a provincial government grant that ties to the forestry sector. “There are supports coming out and we’ll have to wait and hear from the provincial government on what they have in store for us.”

As for The Boundary’s small, connected communities, she says they will feel the fallout from the layoffs and eventual mill shutdown.

“With the number of people that Vaagen employs, that impact is going to be felt in their spending habits. In the local economy, it’s going to have a huge impact on a lot of people not just those that are employed by the mill,” she said.

“We hope it’s (the shutdown) not a long term thing,” Dinsdale added.

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