Despite the Quesnel branch of Tolko mills announcing they will be shutting down, officials say Kamloops employees have nothing to worry about.
Tolko announced Friday, May 10, they will be closing Quest Wood sawmill in Quesnel, along with laying off 90 employees from a Kelowna location as well. The Quest Wood division employs about 150 workers between the planer and sawmill within the location, all of whom will be without work after Aug. 2.
The closure was due to the scarcity of resources says Tolko spokesperson Janice Lockyer, noting that several things have impacted the availability of logs in the area including wildfires, pine beetle and, of course, the lumber market overall.
Kamloops employees, however, do not need to worry, Lockyer says, noting it is a plywood mill which means it is able to use different forms of logs and has not seen the same impacts on their resources.
“We regularly evaluate all our operations, including the Kamloops location,” Lockyer says. “It will be fine.”
“Kamloops is running, it is within the Tolko ‘core asset group’, so they are fine in terms of closure,” she notes, adding there is no reason for employees to be concerned anytime in the near future.
Tolko has a number of mills throughout B.C. and Alberta which the employees of the Quesnel and Kelowna branches are welcome to apply for, Lockyer adds.
“We will be having sessions in the next few weeks and months to review the applications,” she says, encouraging the displaced employees to apply.