The small Nairn Centre sawmill that founders Myron Austin and Benjamin F. Merwin established in 1949 got a big celebration yesterday as employees, families, partners and members of the community marked its 70th anniversary.
On the banks of the Spanish River, the sawmill has flourished over the years and has helped develop a rich forestry tradition in the region, supporting economic, environmental and social development. The original 19-person crew has grown to a team of 170 talented employees looking after forest management, woodlands operations, production, maintenance, administration and more, now under EACOM Timber Corporation’s leadership.
“Reflecting on these modest beginnings and the rich history of Nairn Centre provides a strong legacy to continue building a bright future for our business and the community,” stated Wade Zammit, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, EACOM. “This milestone underscores the hard work and commitment to sustainable practices that define EACOM and the forestry sector. Happy 70th to our extended EACOM family on this significant community achievement and celebration.”
EACOM announced at the festivities a legacy gift to the Township of Nairn and Hyman to ornate the municipal entrance signs with artefact saws and landscaping that evocate the township’s forestry heritage.
“On behalf of council and the citizens of Nairn and Hyman Township, I would like to thank EACOM for their generous donation and to congratulate the mill on its 70 years of operation. When industry, businesses, volunteers and council all work together good things happen as will be evidenced by the enhancements to our town welcome signs,” said Mayor Laurier Falldien.
Environmental stewardship and responsible management have enabled today’s workers to harvest trees that come from healthy working forests, transform them locally and supply the North American home building market with a strong, renewable and ecological material. With an annual production of 300,000 mmfbm, the operation’s sustainable and trustworthy practices have been recognised and certified under Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards.
“Any company that has been in operation in Northern Ontario for 70 years is definitely doing something right. Such success is only possible with strong commitment from everyone from the top of the corporation to those who have their boots on the ground. It’s truly a team effort,” stated MPP Michael Mantha, Algoma-Manitoulin. “EACOM can be proud of its long-standing, strong industry reputation as a leader in the lumber industry. I congratulate all those workers associated with the Nairn Centre site, past and present for the part they have played in achieving 70 years of success.”
Since 2015, EACOM has invested over $12.4 million in technology and equipment upgrades at its Nairn Centre operation to unleash the potential of its people and facilities. Investments include a machine stress rated system to market high-resistance boards, installation of an autograder and lug loader to increase grade yield, an air board tracker to improve uptime as well as a new trimmer optimiser.
“I want to congratulate EACOM, and their staff on this milestone, the 70th anniversary of the Nairn Centre sawmill and your commitment to building stronger communities not only here, but in Elk Lake, Timmins and other northern Ontario communities. The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) represents 110 municipalities of all sizes in Northeastern Ontario, many of which have a strong forestry interest which we support,” concluded Paul Schoppmann, Second Vice-President, FONOM. “Please continue your good work and investment in Northern Ontario communities.”