Friday, September 23, 2016

Mill closing, 203 jobs lost

by Carmen Weld - CASTANET Sep 22, 2016 / 7:12 pm
Tolko Industries says the pine beetle has forced it to close its Nicola Valley operation in Merritt, putting 203 employees out of work. Tolko announced Thursday that it will permanently close its Merritt operation on December 16th, 2016. “Making the decision to close an operation is never easy,” said Brad Thorlakson, president and CEO. “Following the recent reduction in the annual allowable cut as a result of the completion of the pine beetle harvest, an extensive review of the wood supply for all of our Southern Interior operations was conducted. Based on this review, we have determined there is not enough timber to supply all of our mills. This has resulted in the decision to permanently close our Nicola operation.” Tolko said employees were informed of the decision on Thursday. “Today we have issued notice to employees, and we are working through the details of a transition package," said Mike Harkies, executive vice president of Solid Wood. “We anticipate full details to be available to employees the week of October 10th.” Thorlakson added that the closure of this mill will result in the removal of 250-million board feet of capacity from the lumber market. Despite this news, he said the company his family has owned since 1956 remains well positioned for future success. “We are focused on making decisions that ensure our long term success. As a company, we are very well positioned due to our geographic and product diversification.” Tolko purchased the Nicola Valley operation in 1987.
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