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Tolko plans reduction to one shift at Soda Creek in Williams Lake, impacting 65 employees

Soda Creek employees were notified Monday, April 17.
Tolko Industries Soda Creek Division in Williams Lake will be reducing operations to one shift. Employees were notified Monday, April 17. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Tolko Industries is moving from two shifts to one shift at its Soda Creek division in Williams Lake and Armstrong lumber operations.

While the exact date of the move to a single shift has not been determined for Williams Lake, Tolko said it expects the reduced shift will be permanent at Soda Creek, while the single-shift approach at Armstrong Lumber will be evaluated on a regular basis going forward to determine if any changes are required.

Armstrong lumber employees were notified on April 10 and the shift change went into effect Monday, April 17.

Soda Creek employees were informed earlier in the day Monday, April 17.

Tolko said approximately 130 employees will be impacted — 65 employees at each division — and the potential for approximately 100 million board feet of lumber will be removed from annual production at each location.

The announcement comes six weeks after the two sites resumed operations after a two-month curtailment.

“A lack of available economic fibre in the province, high log costs, and weak markets are impacting our ability to be fully operational,” said Troy Connolly, vice-president of Solid Wood in a news release.

“While our goal is to ensure consistency and stability for all of our operations, the steep decline in lumber demand and upward cost pressures in the province make the decision necessary.”

Connolly said Tolko did not make the decisions without a lot of consideration.

“We have an extremely committed workforce at these locations whose families and communities rely on Tolko,” Connolly noted. “We will continue to support our employees during this challenging time.”

READ MORE: Operations resume at Tolko lumber mills in Cariboo, North Okanagan

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