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Tolko to permanently close Kelowna mill


November 11, 2019
By Tolko Industries

Following a thorough examination of all contributing factors including log costs, market conditions, and cumulative policy burden, Tolko will permanently close its Kelowna division on Jan. 8, 2020.

This announcement will allow employees at the mill to move forward with their lives in certainty.

“At this time, our thoughts are with impacted employees in Kelowna,” said President and CEO Brad Thorlakson. “This is a difficult decision. The Kelowna mill has been in operation since the 1930s and has contributed to the community through job creation and many other economic spinoffs for more than 80 years. The mill has always had an excellent team that produced a highly regarded quality stud for North American and export markets. It will always stand as an example of what can be accomplished when ingenuity and know-how come together for a common purpose.”

Thorlakson said employees were informed about the decision on Friday Nov. 8 and they will soon be provided with detailed information on what they can expect next in terms of severance packages, benefits, etc. Wherever possible, employees will be offered positions at other Tolko locations that currently have vacancies.

“Our HR team is on-site, providing information and support for accessing career transition services,” said vice-president of solid wood, Troy Connolly. “And they will be available to help people as we move through this process.

“We want to thank everyone at Kelowna for their many years of dedication and support and assure them this decision was not easy for us to make and has nothing to do with the quality of work or the caliber of people at the mill. The industry is facing many challenges that are beyond our control, and tough decisions are necessary to ensure our future sustainability.”

“On days like these, our hearts are heavy as we think of our colleagues and friends,” he added. “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. Unfortunately, with B.C. log costs, the mill is no longer cost-competitive.”

Pino Pucci, vice-president, Tolko marketing and sales, continued to assure customers, as he has on previous occasions, that Tolko’s marketing and sales team “will continue to support our customers and do our best to minimize any impacts. Our customers are understanding of current market conditions and aware of our ongoing commitment to serve them.”