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Tolko extends Armstrong, Soda Creek lumber mill shutdowns

Plywood divisions in Armstrong and White Valley see operations resume this week
A shutdown at Tolko's lumber division in Armstrong that began last year will now last through February.

While the province ramps up investment in value-added forest products, Vernon lumber producer Tolko is extending downtime at two of its Interior lumber mills.

On Dec. 28, the Vernon-headquartered forestry company announced Christmas shutdowns at its Soda Creek and Armstrong lumber divisions would continue through January. Now, those shutdowns will last through February.

“We do not make these decisions lightly,” Troy Connolly, vice-president of solid wood with Tolko, said in a Jan. 23 press release. “We have an extremely committed workforce at these operations whose families and communities rely on Tolko. We will continue to support our employees during this challenging time.”

Tolko said the curtailments are temporary and will reduce production by approximately 35 million board feet of stud lumber.

“High log costs and weak lumber markets continue to impact our operating footprint in the province,” Connolly said. “While we strive to ensure consistency and stability for all of our operations, the upward cost pressures in the province combined with the notable decline in lumber demand make the decision necessary.”

Tolko vice-president of marketing and sales Pino Pucci added, “Tolko’s marketing and sales team will continue to support our customers and do our best to minimize any impacts. Our customers are understanding of current market conditions and aware of our ongoing commitment to serve them.”

Meanwhile, operations will resume this week at Tolko's White Valley and Armstrong plywood divisions.

The locations were forced to take downtime due to a Dec. 28 substation fire, which caused an ongoing power outage at the Armstrong plywood and lumber divisions.

Temporary repairs to the substation are complete, and teams are working through the process of restarting.

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