Hopes that Tolko’s Lakeview Division sawmill would only remain closed until this May following a devastating a fire last year have been dashed.
First vice president with United Steelworkers Local 1-2017, Paul French confirmed Monday to MyCaribooNow that the sawmill will likely not be operational until September.
“We’re very disappointed,” he said.
“There’s not much we can do about it. They’re having issues getting the equipment and working around details with insurance because of a result of the fire. So the number of employees that are onsite today will probably remain that way or we’re sure hoping it doesn’t get any smaller.”
About 45 employees are still working at the Lakeview Division following the fire on November 2, 2017 according to French who adds that the Soda Creek Division has started an extra shift with about 20-25 employees finding work there.
Tolko said in November 2017 although they could not say with certainty how long the sawmill would remain out of operation they were estimating that it could be as long as six months.
The company did not return requests for comment.
“The longer this drags out the employees that are hanging out there on EI that will start to run out and then the benefits packages that are there will start to run out because they’re only covered for a certain length of time on layoff,” says French.
“So we’re concerned about the well-being of our members.”