150 workers laid off with Tolko mill closure in Quesnel

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

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

It costs as little as $7 to charge an EV at home. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Electric Vehicles a rare sight (in the Kootenays), but change on the way

Electric pickups will increase the appeal of zero-emission vehicles in years to come according to Blair Qualey of the New Car Dealers Association

Linda Krawczyk and her dad Doug Finney enjoyed a ride around beautiful Fernie on Friday thanks to Melanie Wrigglesworth and the local chapter of Cycling Without Age. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Cycling Without Age goes for its first spin

Doug Finney (86) got to enjoy a ride around Fernie

The Cranbrook Community Forest is good to go for mountain biking. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Snow’s done, time to hit the trails

South Country trails are good to go

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Most Read