Tolko Industries Ltd. is permanently closing its Quest Wood sawmill in Quesnel and making a reduction from two shifts to one at its Kelowna sawmill.
“This is a difficult but necessary decision”, says Brad Thorlakson, President and CEO. “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 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. This is a business decision and does not reflect on the commitment or work of our employees at these two operations. 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.”
“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”, says Thorlakson who concluded by saying that all remaining Tolko divisions would continue operating on their regular schedules.
The Quest Wood closure process will begin on Friday, August 2, 2019. Approximately 150 employees are impacted. The reduction in shifting at the Kelowna mill is effective on July 12, 2019. Approximately 90 employees are impacted by the shifting reduction. These two decisions will remove 250 million board feet from Tolko’s production in B.C.