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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

BCHL: Bulldogs trade veteran defenceman, acquire new players during offseason

Grayson Valente suited up for three seasons with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs

ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre garden opening June 16

Virtual art exhibits and gift shop to come

A LOOK BACK: maritime history of Alberni Inlet

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with Alberni Valley Museum

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read