VICTORIA (July 5, 2019) – As troubles continue to mount for British Columbia’s forestry industry while John Horgan and the NDP still refuse to do anything to help the struggling sector, Tolko has announced it will begin construction on a new pellet plant in High Level, Alberta. The announcement comes amidst a litany of mill closure and shift curtailment announcements that have plagued the industry here in B.C. in recent weeks.
“Over the past two months we’ve seen Tolko announce shift cuts at its Kelowna mill, temporary closures at its Armstrong and Soda Creek mills, as well as the permanent closure of its Quest Wood sawmill in Quesnel,” said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Critic and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. “To see the same company expand its operations in Alberta at a time when the B.C. forestry sector is in free fall speaks to the complete lack of support John Horgan and the NDP have shown the industry.”
Citing tax cuts and business-friendly government-led initiatives that support the long-term success of the industry as the reasons behind their investment decision, Tolko has stated the announcement will lead to the creation of dozen of new jobs for workers in Alberta.
“This is exactly the type of investment we should be seeing here in our B.C. forestry-dependent communities,” said Small Business Critic and Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes. “Instead, John Horgan and the NDP’s uncompetitive policies are driving away investment and jobs to Alberta. With B.C. job losses mounting daily, it’s our workers, self-employed contractors, and their families who are forced to bear the brunt of the crisis that’s been made worse by the complete lack of action from this government.”
So far in 2019, there have been at least 96 weeks of operational downtime announced at various mill operations in B.C. In addition, there have been six permanent closures, significant shift reductions, and over one billion board feet of production curtailed.
A list of mill shutdowns and closures under the NDP in 2019 is below.