Expect to see Tolko’s Kelowna mill looking pretty much the same for months to come - InfoNews

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Expect to see Tolko’s Kelowna mill looking pretty much the same for months to come

It will likely be months before the last of the logs stored in Okanagan Lake next to Tolko's closed mill in Kelowna are sent to the company's other mills.
May 24, 2020 - 6:00 PM

The decommissioning and redevelopment of the Tolko lumber mill site on the waterfront in Kelowna is moving at a snail’s pace.

“We’re still working on the decommission of the site,” Chris Downey, communications advisor for the Vernon-based company, told iNFOnews.ca. “Probably the first thing that people will notice will be the redistribution of some of the stored logs to some of our other mill sites over the coming months.”

The mill shut down last summer for what was initially a six-week period. That grew to a permanent closure that became official on Jan. 8 of this year, with the layoff of more than 170 workers.

Some work was done in the winter to move logs stored in the water on the west side of Okanagan Lake. Downey said those had all been moved to the mill site and many of the logs were pulled out of the water to dry out before being shipped to other Tolko mills.

Many logs are still floating in Sutherland Bay. Removing them all will likely take a few more months, Downey said.

The company has not yet decided what to do with the land the closed mill sits on, and no work has been done to remove any of the buildings.

“(The company) haven’t really made any solid decisions on that yet,” Downey said.

A Kelowna realtor estimated the land was worth close to $50 million, based on the value of industrial properties last winter. It’s zoned industrial but is on prime waterfront land near the base of Knox Mountain and close to the high-rise district along Sunset Drive.

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