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Tolko reaches agreement with union on Creekside mill closure
Following an extensive operational review of mills in the Williams Lake area, Tolko Industries Ltd. announced today, Nov. 16 that it does not foresee a reasonable opportunity to reopen its Creekside mill.Operations at the Lakeview and Soda Creek mills will not be affected, the release says.
“The decision not to reopen the mill was not an easy one to make,” said Mike Harkies, Vice President of Solid Wood. “When we curtailed operations at the mill indefinitely in 2009, we had expected that lumber markets would rebound within a year or two.
However, US housing starts are still less than half of what they were before the recession and, while demand from China has helped to keep our other mills open and US housing starts are slowly improving, lumber demand has still not recovered to a point that will enable all mills to operate viably.”
“These factors, combined with increasing wood costs and deteriorating quality of timber as a result of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, has led us to conclude that reopening the Creekside mill is not viable,” said Harkies.
Following constructive negotiations, Tolko and the United Steelworkers Local 1-425 have reached a tentative agreement around issues raised by the announcement, including payment of severance to affected employees.
With the Creekside decision finalized, Tolko Industries Ltd. will now turn its focus to making the Lakeview and Soda Creek mills commercially competitive over the long run.
Tolko Industries Ltd. is a private, Canadian-owned forest products company based in Vernon, British Columbia with approximately 3,000 employees. Tolko is a major producer and marketer of lumber, veneer, plywood, oriented strand board, and kraft papers, with manufacturing operations across Western Canada. The Company’s Woodlands operations have received third-party certification of their sustainable forest management systems.