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

Criminal charges laid against Trail man arrested in Castlegar

Clayton Clarke was released from custody on Wednesday.

Shots fired at a West Trail home

Police report that the victim, a 37-year old Trail man, was not injured

Archive and research project at Doukhobor Discovery Centre coming to fruition

Up to 2,000 items will be able to be archived at facility when project is finished

Indecent exposure at Trail’s Gyro Park

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon just before 5 p.m.

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

Thousands of dollars in stolen rice found in B.C. warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

COVID-19 gives B.C. First Nation rare chance to examine tourism’s impact on grizzly bears

With 40 infrared cameras deployed in Kitasoo-Xai’Xais territory, research will help develop tourism plan with least impact on bears

NDP wants Lower Mainland MLA removed from BC Liberal caucus for alleged homophobia

BC Liberal leader, some MLAs apologize for Christian magazine ads but Laurie Throness doubles down

Most Read