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Tolko Industries announces downtime for two of its B.C. lumber mills

Citing high log costs and weak markets, Tolko Industries says two of its lumber mills in B.C.’s Interior will be taking time off in late May and June. The two affected mills are Armstrong, above, and Soda Creek.
Citing high log costs and weak markets, Tolko Industries says two of its lumber mills in B.C.’s Interior will be taking time off in late May and June. The two affected mills are Armstrong, above, and Soda Creek. Google Maps

Citing weak market conditions, Tolko Industries announced this week that two of its B.C. lumber mills will be taking downtime this month and next.

The two affected mills are both in the Interior; Armstrong, in the Okanagan, and Soda Creek, in the Cariboo. Soda Creek is approximately 38 kilometres north of Williams Lake. Tolko said the downtime will take place during the weeks of May 27 and June 3.

READ MORE: Tolko announces sawmill closure in Quesnel, shift reduction at Kelowna

“High log costs and weak market conditions continue to impact our lumber operating footprint in British Columbia,” Troy Connolly, Tolko’s vice president of solid wood, said in a press release.

“While we prefer to remain operational, we must manage the business responsibly and ensure we are sustainable for the long run.”

WATCH BELOW (Aired April 27, 2019): WorksafeBC issues report on Tolko worker death in 2017

WorksafeBC issues report on Tolko worker death in 2017
WorksafeBC issues report on Tolko worker death in 2017
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Connolly said employees were informed of the decision on Thursday, and that local HR representatives are available to assist them with any questions they may have.

“We do not make these decisions lightly,” said Connolly. “We know we have great people working at these operations and this is in no way a reflection on them or their commitment. However, industry conditions in B.C. are challenging right now and could be for some time.”

Tolko’s vice president of marketing and sales, Pino Pucci, said the company “will continue to support our customers and do our best to minimize any impacts as a result of these operations taking downtime.”

READ MORE: Canfor, Interfor announce temporary curtailments at its B.C. lumber mills

Earlier this month, Tolko announced that it was closing a sawmill in Quesnel and that its Kelowna sawmill was to undergo a shift reduction.

Citing a shortage of economic fibre, the company said the closure process for Quest Wood sawmill in Quesnel will begin on Friday, Aug. 2. The company said approximately 150 employees will be affected.

In Kelowna, the sawmill will undergo a reduction in shifts from two to one. Approximately 90 employees will be affected by the reduction, which will start on July 12.

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