Tolko tax concession debated

FMA extended; plant closer to re-opening

Richard Froese
South Peace News
Plans to re-open the Tolko OSB plant in High Prairie are moving forward with support from the town and county.

Possible steps to create tax incentives were discussed at the April 21 Inter-municipal committee meeting with the Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County.

“We are pleased with the Alberta government’s decision to extend the existing Tolko High Prairie forest management agreement for five years,” states a letter dated April 6 to the town and county signed by Brad Thorlakson, president and CEO of Tolko Industries Ltd.
“This is great news and I would like to thank you for your ongoing support.
“As you know, this was a major step necessary to enable a restart of the High Prairie OSB plant.”

Tax incentives are being considered by county council under regulations in the Municipal Government Act.

“We are limited to what we can and can’t do with taxes according to the MGA,” county CAO Roy Brideau says.

He notes that county administration continues to research options to draft a report that is scheduled to be presented to council by the end of May.

Reeve Ken Matthews says the Tolko board of directors plans to discuss plans at a board meeting May 24.

However, he notes that plans to re-open could also depend on export duties and policies announced in the United States in late April.

Tolko remains committed to reviving the mill.

“We are one step closer to re-opening and investing capital to ready the mill for restart,” Thorlakson says in the letter. “Our team continues to monitor and evaluate other business and market factors that are required to enable a restart.”

Tolko updated community leaders during an information session on Jan. 20 and reported that the company continues to makes steps to re-open the mill that closed in 2008.

Staff is being recruited and Doug Stangier was hired as mill manager.

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