Things are humming along at Tolko’s Athabasca Division plant near Slave Lake. As fast as the mill can produce its OSB panels and engineered lumber, it’s off to market. Being produced while The Leader toured the plant last week were 24’ x 12’ panels for an RV manufacturer located in Indiana. One of those sheets makes up the entire floor of the big rec vehicles. Also new at the mill (since the last time we visited) are a lot of replacement parts, filling up all sorts of formerly empty spaces.
Mill manager Trevor Brander says due to COVID, a regular maintenance shutdown has been postponed until this fall.
Another interesting tidbit from Tolko: no fewer than 30 millwrights are employed at the mill, not to mention several electricians and welders.
Speaking of tradespeople and engineers, Brander says Tolko has set up a program by which local high school students, upon graduating can get scholarships and summer jobs at the mill. If it goes well, they’ll have a guaranteed job the following summer as well, when they are back from their studies. Four such students are due to start work via that program once university gets out in a couple of weeks.
“Now we’re trying to find the next crop,” Brander says, adding, “it’s a good program.”