Cedar log is donated to a B.C. Central Coast school to be carved into a totem pole. New provincial log export rules prohibit the export of cedar and cypress logs, and change the formula for allowing log exports. (B.C. government)

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

The B.C. government’s new log export rules aren’t allowing increased log exports, they’re on a path to phase them out and the harvesting jobs that go with them, says a logging company with operations in Northwest B.C.

NorthPac Forestry Group has partnerships with Gitxsan, Haisla and Tahltan Nations, among the Indigenous communities that now control much of the timber supply in the B.C. Northwest. NorthPac CEO Cathy Craig has spoken out about claims from Skeena Sawmills that new log export limits from the region are increasing and threatening its Terrace sawmill with reduced log supply.

The previous government’s order allowed up to 20 per cent of logs to be exported from the region without offering them for sale to B.C. log buyers. The new export limit is higher, but includes logs that no local buyer wanted to bid on, Craig says in a letter to the Terrace Standard. (Full letter below)

“No one can operate under this kind of uncertainty, spending millions of dollars in planning and harvesting, only to find that the purchase offers for the logs from the local sawmill will not cover the cost of harvesting and delivery to them, never mind allow for profit,” Craig wrote.

“That means harvesting will decline or stop, entrepreneurs will lose business, people will lose jobs, communities will lose revenue. The government has provided a short-term fix to let us continue operating. But our calculation shows we will have zero Order in Council [cabinet approved] export capability within six months.”

Skeena Sawmills president Roger Keery raised his objections to the new rules in a letter to Forests Minister Doug Donaldson in late July. (Full letter below.)

Keery argued that the changes would lead to more export of high-grade logs from the region, adding to a shortage of marketable logs for his company’s sawmill, the only one still operating in the region.

Craig says Skeena Sawmills has two large forest tenures in the Terrace area and a third one south of Kitimat, but harvested less than half the available timber volume in the past five years.

“In the meantime, they have made a habit of threatening to block export sales, and as the sole bidder for this same volume through B.C. Timber sales, they force the harvester to sell them logs at below the cost of harvest,” Craig wrote.

The forests ministry issued a statement to Black Press last week, saying it is working with Skeena Sawmills and other forest industry businesses to monitor the effects of its export policy changes. The ministry questioned Skeena’s estimates of log exports, noting that log exports are down so far in 2019 compared to 2018.

“The minister and premier have both stated that we will be monitoring the effects of the policy changes and if there are unforeseen impacts we will take another look,” the ministry stated.

Northpac Forest Letter Logs 2019-08-16 by Tom Fletcher on Scribd

Skeena Sawmills.donaldson.j… by Tom Fletcher on Scribd

Forests Ministry Response A… by Tom Fletcher on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SLIDESHOW: From cheerful messages to donated flowers, life in Chilliwack carries on through pandemic

Photos show how life has changed for students, businesses and caregivers as community deals with COVID-19

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

20 to 25 cm expected from Hope to Merritt

VIDEO: Chilliwack artist launches free online festival to connect people worldwide to the arts

The Virtualian Festival was launched last weekend by Brunella Battista and runs every Saturday

Chilliwack doc tells it like it is from inside the ER

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

Chilliwack police ask for help in locating 14-year-old

Bowen Samantha Hardy was last seen 10 p.m. Wednesday

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Captain America joins friendly Abbotsford Spider-Man to take down trash

Local garbage crew bringing smiles to city amid pandemic

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Most Read