Old-growth logs head to a mill from a Fraser River log sort. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Log exports high on agenda for B.C. NDP and forest industry

Coastal old growth not running out, logger group says

Forest industry leaders are gathering in Vancouver this week to hear from the B.C. government how it will move ahead on the province’s log export policies, after years of NDP demands while in opposition to reduce log exports in an effort to keep local sawmills going.

B.C. cabinet orders allowing logging contractors on the Central and North Coast to export up to 20 per cent of their unprocessed logs are due to expire at the end of January. It was reduced from 35 per cent by the previous B.C. Liberal government in 2013, with a portion retained to keep logging companies working in remote regions where there are few viable options for trucking to sawmills.

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson are expected to address the annual convention of the Truck Loggers Association, which has argued for many years that premium log export revenues are vital to keep loggers in business so they can also harvest lower-grade timber to bring to B.C. mills.

RELATED: Export laws hurt Northwest B.C. forest companies

RELATED: Winter Harbour moving from logging to tourism

Contractors are also waiting to hear recommendations from former NDP premier Dan Miller, hired by the current government last summer to find ways to help struggling logging contractors stay in business. They face high equipment costs, skilled labour shortages and movement into more remote timber cutting areas.

B.C. Interior loggers are facing sharply reduced timber harvest levels in the wake of widespread pine beetle infestations, aggravated by two straight record years for forest fire area. The combination of Interior log supply reduction and a slump in U.S. lumber prices has led to multiple sawmill closures and shift reductions in recent months.

The coastal industry, meanwhile, faces a steady stream of environmental attacks on logging of old-growth trees. This is despite the increase in protected areas that has led to a one-third drop in annual allowable cut in coastal forests since 1985.

TLA executive director Dave Elstone has been outspoken in response to urban media reports based on claims by groups such as Sierra Club B.C., which recently compared the province to Brazil in its threat to rainforest preservation.

“Through existing conservation efforts, we are never going to run out of old growth on Vancouver Island,” Elstone wrote in response to a Vancouver newspaper’s promotion of Sierra Club claims.

“In fact, it is the law in B.C. to replant and reforest with natural, indigenous species for all areas harvest on Crown land; 200 million trees are planted annually in B.C., or about three seedlings for every tree that is harvested.”

Statistics Canada reported this week that while B.C. pulp and newsprint exports rose more than 20 per cent in 2018, lumber exports dipped slightly between January and November compared to the same period in 2017.

With wood products demand slowing in China, log exports fell much more, 8.9 per cent, in the same period. Value-added wood product exports were also down 3.5 per cent, and cedar shake and shingle shipments fell by more than 21 per cent.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ancient microbes discovered off the Juan de Fuca Ridge potentially offers glimpse into alien life

The marine bacteria is dependent on hydrogen, a compound present almost everywhere

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

Volunteers needed for annual Mother’s Day walk

Breast Cancer Society of Canada hosts annual Mother’s Day event

Sidney Lions dish $4,000 to help build on growing trishaw bike charity

Cycling Without Age Society draws attention as far off as Washington

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

Most Read