Tolko Industries announces lumber mill in Kelowna will be closed indefinitely

Employees at a lumber mill in Kelowna will be off work indefinitely, Tolko Industries announced on Thursday.

Tolko said the decision to curtail its Kelowna operations for an indeterminate period was based on continued high log costs and poor North American market conditions.

It’s believed 127 employees will be affected by the curtailment.

The bad news followed earlier announcements this year regarding the Kelowna plant.


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In July, the plant underwent a shift reduction, with 90 employees being affected. Then came six weeks of downtime that was supposed to run Aug. 6 to Sept. 15.

“This decision was not easy for us to make,” Troy Connolly, Tolko’s vice president of solid wood, said in a press release.

“We are very disappointed to be in a position where we have to curtail the mill, particularly given the reasons for this extension are beyond our control.

“However, with lumber market prices at sustained low levels and high log costs in B.C., the mill cannot be cost-competitive.”

Connolly said employees were informed of the decision earlier Thursday.

“On days like these, our hearts are heavy as we think of our colleagues and friends at Kelowna,” Connolly said.

“It’s hard to know they are suffering today because of reasons that are beyond our control. We know our people in Kelowna have done everything in their power to make the mill successful. They have gone above and beyond.

“Sadly, this has nothing to do with them or their efforts. We simply cannot operate in current conditions.”

In announcing that six-week shutdown on July 30, Connoly said the same thing, that “the high cost of logs and weak market conditions are still impacting our operating footprint in British Columbia.”

Last month, Tolko also announced temporary, two-week shutdowns for three mills in Armstrong and Lavington. The downtime spanned Aug. 17 to Sept. 2, though the mills have since resumed operations.

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