Finning to shut down Sparwood facilities

On Nov. 12, Finning International announced reductions to 11 facilities across Canada, including their Sparwood location.

On Nov. 12, Finning International announced reductions to 11 facilities across Canada, including their Sparwood location.

The announcement comes on the heals of the release of their third quarter financial numbers, revealing a decrease in profits for the international company. The company reported a 16 per cent decrease in revenues, mostly due to new equipment sales dropping 35 per cent.

Hilary Anaka, head of communications for Finning International, said that while the company is re-structuring some of their services, they plan to continue to have a strong presence in the Elk Valley.

“Today we announced that we are exiting 11 facilities by mid to late next year. It’s important to note that we are not leaving any of those communities; we are just changing how we deliver our service to our customers in those areas,” she said in an interview with The Free Press.

Anaka said the impacts on the 11 facilities include closures, consolidation of activities and relocations.

“In Sparwood specifically, what that means is that we plan to exit the building that we are currently in by mid-next year, so mid 2016. We’re still working through all of the details but I can tell you that we are continuing to work on having a strong presence in the Elk Valley,” Anaka said. “One component of that strong presence will be having heavy equipment technicians that can support and serve customers in our area. We are closing the building that we are in, but we are not leaving the Elk Valley.”

While Anaka didn’t release numbers specifically related to Sparwood, she said Finning expects the Canadian workforce reductions to total 1100 positions, with approximately 24 per cent of those positions affected being in British Columbia.

“Difficult decisions that were necessary given the challenging market conditions. What I can say is that the vast majority of these exits have already taken place,” she said.

While many of the reductions have already occurred, Sparwood operations will be affected in the coming months.

“We are going to be completely exiting our building by mid next year but our shop operations, so the actual shop as part of the facility will close by the end of 2015. But Finning will continue to operate out of that building until mid-2016,” said Anaka.

Sparwood Mayor Cal McDougall said that the restructuring will be hard on the community.

“It’s a blow to the community, for sure. Anytime that people lose their jobs in a community, it’s certainly going to affect the area,” he said.  “Times are tough, there are some real work shortages right now, certainly don’t want them leaving the community. We want them to stick around. We are hoping that this is a transition and that things will come back and we are hoping that it is sooner as opposed to later.”