NDP remains absent as Kelowna’s Tolko mill announces indefinite closure

KELOWNA (September 12, 2019) – Kelowna is the latest community to be hit by the forestry crisis as Tolko Industries announced the indefinite closure of its Kelowna operations.

This latest closure comes as John Horgan and the NDP remain M.I.A. and the forestry sector continues to free fall. Over 120 jobs will be lost as a result of today’s announcement.

“The BC Liberals have repeatedly warned the NDP, and have offered tangible ideas to help address the crisis, but there’s still been zero action from John Horgan or his incompetent forests minister,” said Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson. “Communities across B.C. are being hit almost daily with closure announcements and there is still no response from John Horgan.”

So far in 2019, there have been at least 150 weeks of operational downtime announced at various mill operations in B.C. In addition, there have been 10 permanent and indefinite closures, significant shift reductions and hundreds of millions of board feet curtailed.

“We need John Horgan and his government to take meaningful action—any action—to help our forestry communities get through this difficult time,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick. “It’s not acceptable for government to ignore our community or this crisis. Our forestry-dependent families deserve so much better from John Horgan.”

This news comes on the heels of the announcement that Teal-Jones is halting its coastal harvesting operations, which includes its operations in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island and will impact the hundreds of employees at their Surrey mill in a matter of weeks.

In this past week alone, total job losses in the forestry sector include at least 300 logging contractors and over 600 people employed at both Teal-Jones and Tolko’s mill operations.

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