QUESNEL, B.C. - Tolko Industries, one of British Columbia's biggest producers of engineered wood products, will permanently close its Quest Wood sawmill and eliminate a shift of employees at a sawmill in Kelowna. Both mills are in British Columbia.
 
“This is a difficult but necessary decision,” said Brad Thorlakson, President and CEO. “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 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.”
 
Thorlakson says Tolko will work to find 240 the affected employees new work. 250 million board feet of lumber will be eliminated from British Columbia per year.
 
“This is a business decision and does not reflect on the commitment or work of our employees at these two operations. They have made significant contributions to Tolko over many years, and we are grateful for their efforts.”
 
Canadian sawmills are clearly struggling. British Columbia - Canada's largest lumber-producing province - exported just over 514 million board feet of lumber to the U.S. in October 2018, down from 645 million board feet from the same time 2017. Many Canadian lumber leaders have taken a hit - including West Fraser, Canfor, Conifex, and Interfor - and restricted lumber production, with West Fraser and Canfor curtailing production more than once.

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