British Columbia

Lumber company Tolko shutting down all B.C. locations for 2 weeks over Christmas

A lumber company is shutting down all of its B.C. locations over Christmas, blaming low prices and high log costs in the province for its decision.

Operations will be on essential service only between Dec. 21 and Jan. 6, 2020

A Tolko Industries operation in Heffley Creek, B.C., pictured in April 2018. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

A lumber company is shutting down all of its B.C. locations over Christmas, blaming low prices and high log costs in the province for its decision.

Tolko Industries' last day of production in 2019 will be Dec. 20. A company statement released Thursday said operations will only be on essential service in B.C. between Dec. 21 and Jan. 6, 2020.

"Following a thorough examination of all contributing factors including log costs, market conditions and cumulative policy burden, Tolko announced today that its B.C. operations will be taking two weeks' downtime," the statement read.

Tolko has operations in the Okanagan, near Kamloops and Williams Lake, and a terminal in Richmond.

The cutback will reduce output by about 21 million board feet at its lumber operations and cut 10 million square feet of panel production at its plywood and veneer plants.

The privately owned company said its office in Vernon will also be closed from Dec. 23 to 27. 

Last week, Tolko announced it would be permanently closing its lumber mill in Kelowna in the new year. Nearly 175 people lost their jobs.

High log prices and dwindling timber supply are driving a crisis in B.C.'s forestry industry. Companies have announced shutdowns or curtailments at more than two dozen mills in the province, putting hundreds out of work and slashing economic growth predictions. 

With files from the Canadian Press

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