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.

Just Posted

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Power restored to 120,000 customers after northern B.C. transmission failure

Lightning is suspected to be the cause of the outage, says BC Hydro

Bargain Basement moves to a new location

Photos: Community based thrift store provides necessary resources to residents

Twice laid off due to sawmill closings, Mackenzie worker ready for a new career

Analysts expect the industry will see a lot more bad news before there’s much good news

Vanderhoof athlete one in 100 chosen for the first RBC Training Ground national final

Speedskater Alison Desmarais is also the only northern B.C. athlete chosen for the event

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

‘This is where the movement is going to start’: Jessica Patrick remembered at memorial march

The march commemorates the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old’s unsolved death

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Most Read