Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes says a transition team is ready to help those affected by the cutback in production at the Tolko lumber mill in Quesnel.

George Henderson reports:

Oakes says she has been in contact with both Tolko and the United Steelworkers union to ensure them that her government is ready to help…

“We have through Minister Bond a worker transition service response team that will come in to support the employers and local gov with support services but included, which is also critically important, is to ensure that we also have supports in place for those contractors and small businesses that will equally be affected by this.”

Oakes says through her Ministry of Small Business she has reached out to the Northern Development Initiative Trust and Community Futures and other economic development agencies to ensure that they are looking at what can be done for job creation in the community.

She says she also thinks it’s time to reimplement a business resource team in Quesnel that included the economic development agencies in the community as well as all the levels of government to start taking a hard look at what economic development looks like in our region.

Troy Connolly, General Manager of BC Lumber with Tolko, says they are uncertain what the exact impact will be at this point.

Tolko Industries had announced on Wednesday that it will be cutting back it’s operations at the Quest Wood mill from 200 million board feet of product annually down to 100, with the mill┬áto run at current capacity until mid-October when the existing fiber inventory will be consumed.

Connolly says the main reason for the reduction is a decline in lumber market prices and demand in China.

The mill employs 224 people.