B.C's Forest Industry 'In Crisis'

TOLKO - Kelowna

British Columbia's forest industry is in crisis.

On Tuesday, Tolko announced its Kelowna mill will temporarily close for almost 6 weeks.

At a roundtable meeting with the B.C. Liberal Caucus and forestry representatives, Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad said the government needs to acknowledge the forestry crisis and change its cost structure.

“Why are mills in B.C. going down? None in the states, none in Alberta, none in Ontario. Why are we impacted? Because we aren't competitive. Our cost structure has gone up that much higher and so when you’re the highest cost producer, you get impacted first.”

Rustad says the prices of lumber are low and companies can’t compete or operate with the low prices.

He says it could take years before BC recovers a robust lumber market or housing demand.

This year, five mills have closed permanently and more than 125 weeks of temporary shutdowns have affected thousands of people in British Columbia.