Tolko announces closure of Merritt mill

Mill CEO says completion of pine beetle harvest has reduced annual allowable cut that fed the mill.

  • Sep. 23, 2016 2:00 p.m.

The Tolko mill in Merritt will close in December.

Tolko Industries announced Sept. 29 it will permanently close its Merritt mill, effective Dec. 16, putting 203 people out of work.

“Making the decision to close an operation is never easy,” Tolko president and CEO Brad Thorlakson said in a release.

Thorlakson said a reduction in the annual allowable cut as a result of the completion of the pine beetle harvest led to a review of wood supply for all of Tolko Southern Interior operations.

“Based on this review, we have determined there is not enough timber to supply all of our mills,” Thorlakson said. “This has resulted in the decision to permanently close our Nicola operation.”

The closure of the mill will result in the removal of 250-million board feet of capacity from the lumber market.

Mike Harkies, executive vice-president of Tolko’s solid wood division, said employees have been informed of the decision.

“Today [Thursday] we have issued notice to employees and we are working through the details of a transition package,” he said. “We anticipate full details to be available to employees the week of Oct. 10.”

Tolko purchased the Nicola Valley operation in 1987.

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