Merritt mayor hopes discussions at civic gathering can avert mill closure

The Tolko Industries lumber mill in Merritt, B.C.
Image Credit: Contributed

MERRITT - The mayor of Merritt will be busy at this week's Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, trying to convince senior government politicians to save a major employer in the Nicola Valley city.

Mayor Neil Menard hopes to meet with Forests Minister Steve Thomson and Jobs Minister Shirley Bond to discuss the impending closure of the Tolko sawmill in Merritt.

A reduction in the amount of timber permitted for harvest in the Merritt region is blamed for the closure, slated for mid-December.

Menard says he intends to challenge the forests minister to explain why timber allocations were scaled back.

The Tolko mill employs about 200 people and Menard says it's premature for the province to send a transition team to assist those facing layoffs.

He says it's unacceptable to consider the closure a foregone conclusion.

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