150 workers laid off with Tolko mill closure in Quesnel

Log costs, weak lumber markets and the impact of wildfires stated as primary reasons for closure

About 150 people found out they will be losing their jobs in Quesnel after Tolko Industries Ltd. announced today (Friday, May 10) that it will be permanently closing its Quest Wood sawmill in Quesnel.

Tolko also announced a reduction from two shifts to one at its Kelowna sawmill.

“This is a difficult but necessary decision,” Brad Thorlakson, president and CEO, said in press release. “Quest Wood has been part of the Tolko family since 1981 and Kelowna since 2004 when we acquired Riverside Forest Products.

“Unfortunately, we do not have enough economic fibre to keep all of our British Columbia mills running efficiently and productively. We knew that AAC [annual allowable cut] reductions were coming in British Columbia due to the devastation caused by the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic. The curtailments announced today are sooner than anticipated due to uneconomic log costs, weak lumber markets and the catastrophic impacts of wildfires.”

The Quest Wood closure process will begin Aug. 2. Approximately 150 employees are impacted, according to the press release.

Thorlakson says he recognizes today will be a hard day for many, and with that in mind, Tolko’s human resources team is on-site today and will be providing support to employees at both mills throughout the transition.

“This is a business decision and does not reflect on the commitment or work of our employees at these two operations,” said Thorlakson. “They have made significant contributions to Tolko over many years, and we are grateful for their efforts. We will be working with a number of agencies to help people transition to new employment, and we will do everything we can to provide opportunities at other Tolko divisions to minimize the impact on employees and their families.”

Representatives from Tolko’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) are also available on-site and by phone to assist impacted employees. This service will be made available to employees over the coming weeks to help them with any emotional issues and with financial and career planning.

“These decisions have been made after a long and detailed analysis and are necessary for the long-term prosperity of Tolko and are consistent with our commitment to sustainability,” said Thorlakson, adding that all remaining Tolko divisions would continue operating on their regular schedules.

The reduction in shifting at the Kelowna mill is effective July 12 and will impact approximately 90 employees.

These two decisions will remove 250 million board feet from Tolko’s production in B.C., according to the press release.

READ MORE: Tolko to curtail operations in Quesnel



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Rossland council passes plastic bag ban despite legal questions

Appeal court ruling threw bylaw in limbo, but council voted to move forward

Abra Brynne wins Kootenay-Columbia Green Party nomination

Brynne is one of three candidates who will challenge MP Wayne Stetski

Police call Appledale death a homicide

But few other details being released

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Highway 1 closed to due fatal accident east of Revelstoke

A dump truck lost control and the driver was ejected

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read