Tolko has announced further cuts at its Armstrong (pictured) and Soda Creek (Williams Lake) divisions due to poor market conditions. (Morning Star - file photo)

Tolko announces further reductions in Armstrong, Williams Lake

Capacity at stud lumber operations cut by 20 per cent

A tumultuous time for timber continues to cut deep in the Okanagan and beyond.

Tolko announced Wednesday that it is implementing a flexible operating footprint at its Soda Creek and Armstrong stud lumber mills. This change will reduce the company’s operating stud capacity by 20 per cent.

Vice President, Solid Wood, Troy Connolly says the decision is a result of high log costs in B.C. and weak market conditions.

“The continued and increasing pressures on log delivery costs in B.C. have eroded our competitiveness. This, in addition to continued weak markets, means we must take immediate and responsible action to ensure our long-term stability in B.C. We are moving to a flexible operating footprint starting next week. We will continue to monitor our cost competitiveness regularly to determine if further downtime is required. Our top priority is sustaining the business and the many jobs and economic spinoffs it provides to our communities.”

READ MORE: Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Connolly emphasized that these actions have nothing to do with Tolko’s employees.

“We know this is not good news,” he says. “However, we have a tremendously engaged and talented workforce, and we want them to continue as part of the Tolko family. Reducing capacity and changing our footprint is the best way to keep people employed and mills operating. It also gives us the flexibility to immediately react and adjust our schedule should conditions improve. It’s the best possible option right now in current conditions.”

Connolly says employees were informed Wedbesdat morning and Tolko’s HR team is on-site working with them to ensure they understand the implications of this change and determine their next steps.

“We want everyone to know this is not a decision we made lightly. Unfortunately, this is a tumultuous time for Tolko and the industry. We are forced to make tough decisions to ensure we remain sustainable for the long-term. We deeply appreciate the patience and understanding of our employees and thank them for sticking with us through this difficult time.”

Pino Pucci, Vice President, Tolko Marketing and Sales, added that his team is actively supporting customers to minimize the impacts of the situation in B.C.

This announcement comes just days after the company announced closure of its Kelowna mill, putting 127 people out of work.

READ MORE: 127 workers out of job after Kelowna Tolko mill shuts down


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