Pioneer Biomass Finances Startup And Expansion With Economic Stimulus Loan
Pioneer Biomass, a new subsidiary of Pioneer Timber Family Partnership based in Williams Lake, is now operational with an economic stimulus loan from the Government of Canada's Community Adjustment Fund that was delivered in 2009 by Northern Development. The Community Adjustment Fund was provided in communities across Canada that were heavily reliant on resource-based industries in an effort to reduce the short-term impacts during a downturn in the forestry, mining, agriculture, fisheries, and manufacturing sectors.
The Pioneer Timber Family Partnership is a family owned business that includes log homes, land development, logging, trucking and forest management. The subsidiary wood fibre production and supply business, Pioneer Biomass, was formed to focus on increasing the utilization of logging residuals as well as primary log breakdown and log exports. The company operates two custom-built horizontal grinders with support equipment to produce wood fibre that is sold for pellet production and hog fuel biomass for cogeneration plants in the Cariboo region. Capitalizing on current trends, a special emphasis is placed on utilizing Mountain Pine Beetle affected logging waste that would normally be burned on site.
This project has also been supported by Northern Development through the Capital Investment and Training Rebate:
"Northern Development's program is highly responsive, builds on the competitive advantages of northern BC to attract investment and create jobs, and recognizes the importance of these new jobs for our city."
Kerry Cook, Mayor, City of Williams Lake
"With the invaluable help from Northern Development's management and staff, the Pioneer Group was able to capitalize on this biomass harvesting opportunity, at a time when most financial institutions would not invest in forest companies. Pioneer Biomass is repaying its loan to Northern Development and we know the funds will be re-used to support further projects in northern BC. This program is a great way to leverage investments in forest-dependent communities."
Philippe Theriault, Manager, Pioneer Biomass Inc.
Positive Economic Impacts in Williams Lake
After a local forestry company went bankrupt in 2009, one hundred employees were laid off and the economy of Williams Lake and the Cariboo-Chilcotin region suffered greatly. Following the economic downturn, the start-up of Pioneer Biomass was seen as a cause for optimism within the community.
In addition to the creation of jobs, Pioneer Biomass is supporting the economy by providing Pinnacle Pellet and Capital Power with biomass fibre. Prior to the opening of Pioneer Biomass, both operations were in need of fibre to supplement drastically reduced deliveries from the local and regional sawmills.
In the future, Pioneer Biomass plans to expand further to process biomass into a value-added product geared to Asian markets. This expansion will lead to further job creation, and will help to grow and sustain the economy of Williams Lake. By investing in the biomass industry, the community has begun to diversify its economy and overcome the challenges being faced in the forest industry.
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