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B.C. reinforcing manufacturing sector on Vancouver Island

December 20, 2023 at 10:16 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

New funding for manufacturing businesses on Vancouver Island will increase advanced manufacturing capabilities, make better use of available wood fibre in the forest sector and create and protect local jobs.

“We’re working together with innovative manufacturing companies as they look to grow and bring long-term, sustainable jobs to communities throughout B.C.,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “By investing in companies as they upgrade and modernize, we’re also investing in strengthening local economies.”

The Government of B.C. is contributing as much as $3.4 million through the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund to help Nanaimo-based VMAC Global Technology Inc. grow its operations by establishing a new 465-square-metre (5,000 square feet) manufacturing facility. It also will help buy equipment to scale up the production of lightweight air compressors for the heavy-duty commercial electric vehicle (EV) market, including semi-trucks, buses and other specialized vehicles requiring air brakes and air suspension.

VMAC’s technology allows for longer range and lower maintenance costs, enabling greater adoption among the commercial market and significantly reducing emissions. VMAC also incorporates circular economy elements into its operations by reusing aluminum and steel in production and maximizing the use of all raw materials. This project increases B.C.’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, aligns with CleanBC’s priorities to strengthen adoption and infrastructure of heavy-duty EVs, and creates 45 new jobs at VMAC.

“As a successful manufacturing and export business in Nanaimo, with over 180 employees, VMAC is proud to provide high-quality local jobs and support various local suppliers in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island and in B.C.,” said Brent Johnston, CEO, VMAC Global Technology Inc. “This has been VMAC’s driving purpose for the past 38 years and the support from the Province of British Columbia will enable us to continue this mission.”

Two Island-based wood-product manufacturers are receiving funds from the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund to grow their businesses, while creating and maintaining local jobs:

  • Port Alberni – Franklin Forest Products Ltd. will receive as much as $425,000 to buy new equipment that will allow it shift from processing old-growth logs to a broader range of log sizes and grades, helping the company protect 37 existing jobs and create five new ones; and
  • Chemainus – BioFlame Briquettes, which manufactures briquettes from waste sawdust and logging residual from the forestry industry, will receive as much as $117,320 to buy and commission a hammermill and briquette press that will increase fibre diversity and production at its facility, allow it to take logging waste directly from the forest to reduce wildfire risk and decrease risk of fibre supply uncertainty, and create four new jobs.

The BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund supports for-profit organizations to plan and launch shovel-ready, high-value industrial and manufacturing projects that bring direct benefits and stable, family-supporting jobs to communities, while driving clean and inclusive growth throughout the province.

Building resilient economies is part of the Province’s work through the StrongerBC Economic Plan to build a strong and sustainable economy through clean and inclusive growth. Supporting B.C.’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors helps bring government closer to its goal of building a more innovative economy for people, businesses and communities throughout B.C.

Quotes:

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan –

“Seeing homegrown companies like VMAC and BioFlame expanding their operations and creating new opportunities for local workers means the investments from the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund are helping grow strong, sustainable economies.”

Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim –

“Franklin Forest Products has been employing people in Port Alberni for over 30 years and it’s really great news that it will be able to expand operations with new equipment and provide five more family-supporting jobs.”

Mike McKay, president, Franklin Forest Products Ltd. –

“Franklin Forest Products appreciates the financial support from the Province. The funds will help retool the operation to become less reliant on old-growth timber and protect the nearly 40 jobs in the Port Alberni community.”

Marcus Woernle, CEO, BioFlame Briquettes –

“Thanks to the BC Manufacturing Fund, BioFlame is able to acquire the necessary equipment to transform low-value wood waste into densified biomass. This waste includes construction and logging residue, allowing BioFlame to increase production and meet demand.”

Learn More:

Learn about the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund: https://gov.bc.ca/ManufacturingJobsFund  

Learn about the StrongerBC Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/plan

Learn about the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca

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