Tembec passes the baton to Teck

Three huge properties in the Elk Valley have passed between the hands of two of the East Kootenay's biggest companies

Left: Teck has purchased almost 1

Left: Teck has purchased almost 1

Teck has purchased more than 7,000 hectares of land in the Elk Valley from Tembec, purely for conservation purposes.

The two businesses – one, the East Kootenay’s largest employer, and the other, formerly one of the East Kootenay’s largest employers – announced the $19 million sale late Thursday, October 17.

Within the next two months, three parcels of land will be transferred to Teck’s ownership.

The Grave Prairie property is 3,059 hectares in size, located 7.5 kilometres northeast of Sparwood, and, according to environmental group Wildsight, is an important wintering area for elk.

The Alexander Creek parcel, 3,098 hectares in size, is 10 kilometres east of Sparwood, on the north side of Highway 3 next to the Alberta border. The property allows wide-ranging wildlife such as grizzly bear and lynx to move between Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park into the Rocky Mountains.

Finally, Teck purchased 992 hectares known as the Flathead Townsite, in the Upper Flathead Region, 28 kilometres southeast of Sparwood.

“These lands are not amenable to mining,” said Nic Milligan, Teck’s manager of community and aboriginal affairs.

“They were purchased in order to work in cooperation with First Nations, communities and other stakeholders to ensure they are used to protect key wildlife and fish habitat in the Elk Valley and Flathead River Valley now and for the future.”

The sale has been applauded by conservation groups in B.C., Alberta and Montana who are working to protect the Flathead Valley.

“We’re very excited that Teck has made a significant investment to purchase and work towards conserving this important wildlife and fish habitat,” said John Bergenske, Wildsight’s executive director.

In 2010, the B.C. government and Canadian government signed an agreement with the state of Montana and the United States government to protect the Flathead, which is adjacent to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a designated World Heritage Site.

In November 2011, the B.C. government passed the Flathead Watershed Conservation Act, which bans mining, oil and gas activity in the Flathead.

Teck said it is invested in maintaining the East Kootenay’s environmental values.

“Our employees live and work in the Kootenays and they want to ensure its vibrant economy and natural splendour is maintained for future generations,” said Milligan. “We strongly believe that by working in partnership it is possible to have both world-class mining and a world-class environment.”

In coming months, Teck will discuss how the properties should be managed with First Nations and other Elk Valley stakeholders.

This is the second sale of East Kootenay lands that Tembec has announced in the past month. On September 30, it revealed the $4.2 million sale of 1,875 hectares west of St. Mary Lake to Nanaimo-based company Jemi Holdings Ltd.

Tembec hopes to sell off 64,500 hectares of land in the East Kootenay, with the goal of making $75 million by the end of 2014.

The remaining properties are in the St. Mary Valley, near Canal Flats, and south of Cranbrook.

Tembec has had a presence in the East Kootenay since 1999 when it purchased the Elko and Canal Flats sawmills from Crestbrook Forest Industries. In November 2011, Tembec sold those mills to Canfor.

This March, Tembec sold its Skookumchuck pulp mill to Vancouver-based Paper Excellence Canada.

The site of Cranbrook’s shuttered planer mill still belongs to Tembec. The mill was shut down in 2010 and destroyed in a fire last year. A sawmill on the same site was closed in 1999.

Tembec also announced this week that its Cranbrook-based vice president of the Forest Products Group, Dennis Rounsville, is retiring this year.

Rounsville began his career with Crestbrook and worked for Tembec in Cranbrook until it sold its East Kootenay mills, then relocating to the company’s headquarters in Quebec.

“Dennis Rounsville has been a valuable member of our executive leadership team, and a significant contributor to Tembec and the forest products industry through his long career, and we wish him a fruitful and happy retirement,” said Tembec’s President and CEO James Lopez.

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

Just Posted

It happened this week in 1914

April 11 - 17: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison hopes for economic recovery plan in upcoming federal budget

Kootenay-Columbia Conservative looking for post-pandemic recovery plan in next week’s Liberal budget

Alexa Vanoni passed away in January, 2021 and her father Blair donated her drum set to Selkirk Secondary where she went to school and played in the music program.
Alexa’s drums: Behind every overdose statistic is a story

April 14 marks five years since the opioid crisis was declared a… Continue reading

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

FILE – People hold signs during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver on Saturday, August 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to request federal exemption for simple drug possession

Announcement comes on 5-year anniversary of B.C.’s first public health emergency

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)
Rare blood clots ‘may be linked’ to AstraZeneca vaccines: Health Canada

One case of the adverse effect has been reported in Canada

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Observers ‘gutted’ as pair filmed removing red dresses hung along B.C. highway

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Indigenous Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

A grey whale off the coast of Vancouver Island is being monitored by Canadian and U.S. researchers, as it has developed lesions after being tagged last year. To try and prevent systemic infection from developing, the team administered antibiotics to the whale on March 31 and April 1. (Photo from the NOAA Fisheries website)
Grey whale off Vancouver Island develops lesions after being tagged, researchers monitor its condition

Canadian and U.S. whale experts administered antibiotics to the animal on March 31, April 1

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read