Fonds - Columbia Cellulose Company Limited fonds

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Columbia Cellulose Company Limited fonds

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  • 17 Jan- 5 Feb, 1951 (Creation)
    Columbia Cellulose Company Limited

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Physical description

0.5 cm of textual records

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(1948- 2001)

Administrative history

After the Second World War, the Celanese Corporation of America became interested in Canada as a supplier of raw material and asked for permission to manage a large tract of Crown forest land in BC. A site was chosen 8 miles south of Prince Rupert on Watson Island where the Americans had developed modern dock installations during the war, and used the location with its deep sea wharf and rail lines to ship supplies to Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. In 1947, the company was given the first forest management license awarded in BC and drilling for the new site began in August of that year. In May 1948, Celanese became the owner of Tree Farm License (TFL) No. 1, encompassing 825,000 acres of productive forest near Terrace. New laws in the province stipulated that a pulp mill had to be established prior to owning a TFL, and the 27 million dollar, 200-tonne capacity mill was designed by engineers in New York to produce high alpha cellulose. In 1951, wage negotiations began between the employer, Columbia Cellulose Company Ltd, Watson Island BC, and International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite, and Paper Mill Workers, Watson Island Local 708. Eventually, the union became members of the Pulp, Paper, and Woodworkers of Canada, Local 4. The co-coordinator and general manager for the project was Dr. R.H. Ball, and David G. Stenstrom was a consultant on organizational matters. In June 1951, the mill opened and produced 200 tonnes of pulp per day. Fresh water for the mill came from Rainbow, Prudhomme, and Kloiyah Lakes and it became necessary to dam the lake outlet. Water was supplied through a 48 inch wood pipeline in approximately one mile of cement-lined tunnels in the rock. A double tunnel permitted an enlarged supply at a later date. Three tunnels totaling one mile were driven through rock and encased with cement to carry two 48 inch pipelines. The Canadian National Railway (CN) main line to Prince Rupert ran through the west side of the mill site between the general mill building and the wharf area. The wharf housed facilities for rail loading with a spur line that ran its entire length until a fire destroyed the wharf in 1967. Over the years, the mill constructed additions, and underwent labour disputes and changes in ownership. It permanently ceased operations in June, 2001.

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Donor unknown

Scope and content

The fonds consists of carbon copies of a wage schedule agreement, travelling allowance agreement, and meeting reports between the International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers Watson Island Local 708. Includes correspondence between the Union and mill manager W.C. Ray Jones.

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Revised on January 27, 2014

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