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Tolko draws mayor's fury

The mayor of Merritt says he's angry about Tolko Industries' decision to close a sawmill that employs 200 people in his community.

Neil Menard says the company had set up a meeting with city officials last week but cancelled it, and now he knows why.

Tolko says the mill will be closing Dec. 16 because a pine beetle infestation has reduced annual allowable harvests around Kamloops and Merritt, and there isn't enough wood to support all the operations in the region.

Menard says the city is in process of setting up meetings with cabinet ministers next week at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson says the province will send a transition team to Merritt to help the city look for other opportunities.

He says the team will provide support services for workers losing their jobs just before Christmas.



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