Kamloops Lafarge plant to close, 26 layoffs expected

By James Peters / Jill Sperling
October 20, 2016 - 11:20am Updated: October 20, 2016 - 5:51pm

KAMLOOPS — Lafarge Canada has announced the company's Kamloops plant is shutting down.

Lafarge says it will "mothball" the local cement plant, and blames the decision on market conditions in Western Canada, which are "not expected to improve significantly for the forseeable future."

36 people have full time jobs at Lafarge Kamloops, and a company news release says about 10 of those employees will be retained, either in Kamloops or at other Canadian plants.

The company adds while the plant is being shuttered, the local terminal will remain open with cement being sourced from other Lafarge operations in the region.

In that way, the company says customers will not be affected.

The announcement came as a surprise to Kamloops mayor Peter Milobar, who had recently met with Lafarge representatives.

"I was quite shocked," Milobar said. "We had met with Lafarge officials at UBCM and had no indication of this a couple of weeks ago, so very surprising and obviously very unsettling time for the families involved and hopefully they'll be able to find something in short order to be able to replace the value of the job they had." 

The closure will have some impact on the city's tax revenues, which will be addressed through budget deliberations. 

Milobar says it's now important to focus on the remaining two heavy industries serving the Kamloops area - Domtar and the Tolko Sawmill in Heffley Creek.

"There is still very much reliance on those resource jobs as part of a diversified economy," Milobar said. "I think we want to make sure that our mills are as vibrant as possible and employ people to a high level and are as efficient as possible to make sure they stay open for a long period of time."

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