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Millar Western makes lumber donation to Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation home-building initiative  

Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation members, including Chief Tony Alexis, Councillor Corrine Potts and Project Manager Tyrone Letendre, met last week with representatives of Millar Western Forest Products Ltd. and Whitecourt Transport Inc. for the delivery of a lumber donation destined for use in a community-led home-building initiative.

Log/wood-frame hybrid home, under construction.
Chief Tony Alexis, project leads and trainees gather with Millar Western and Whitecourt Transport staff.
MW’s Brian McConkey with ANSN Councillor Corrine Potts and Construction Manager Mario Demny (holding winter hats presented by Millar Western to trainees working outdoors).
Logs and lumber, ready for construction.

The housing initiative is located within the Alexis community. It was developed, with support from the Alberta government, to provide young people with training in carpentry and other career skills, while helping address a pressing need for additional community housing. Both log and log/wood-frame hybrid structures are being built under the project; five homes have been completed to date, and four are currently under construction.

The lumber, nine lifts of 2×6 and 2×4 valued at over $25,000, was donated by Millar Western to support the construction of four log/wood-frame hybrid homes. Whitecourt Transport delivered the lumber from the company’s sawmill to the Alexis building site at no cost.

“Our people have worked hard to make this home-building initiative a success. It provides opportunities for skill-development and employment for our members, while also supporting Elders and others in need, by providing them with a place to call home,” said Chief Tony Alexis. “We greatly appreciate the contributions of Millar Western, Whitecourt Transport and our other project partners.”

Peter Andrews, Millar Western Vice-President of Fibre Optimization and Innovation, noted that the gift of lumber was produced from sustainably managed forests, and was in keeping with his company’s longstanding partnership with the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. “We are deeply committed to meaningful engagement with the Indigenous communities whose traditional territories we work in. And one of the guiding principles of that commitment is to invest in community building and to provide opportunities for young people to gain knowledge and skills that will help them build a strong foundation for future success.”

Brett Evasiuk, General Manager of Whitecourt Transport, personally delivered the truckload of lumber. “Like our friends at Millar Western, we’re a family business that has been a key economic contributor in this region for generations. We’re excited to join with Millar Western, the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, and other partners to help build stronger communities.”

An informal gathering was held October 7th to celebrate the lumber delivery, and the occasion allowed some of the trainees working on the home-building project to demonstrate their new skills. “These young men and women are proud to be building something of such great value to their people,” said Councillor and Project Leader Corrine Potts.