Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: December 2, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Layoffs and mill closures plague BC forest industry

The Tree Frog Forestry News
December 2, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

As BC politicians argue in the legislature, workers and their families face an uncertain future. In related news: the Interior logging truck rally fails to gain ground; and BC’s pine beetle kill comes home to roost.

In other Business news: Ontario forestry research and innovation funding; Northern Pulp decision has Nova Scotia’s credibility on the line; West Fraser’s a top 100 employer; Aaron Frost earns most valuable (BC Forest Safety Council) player award; and Pete Fournier is chair of the Wood Manufacturing Council.

In Forestry/Climate news: the EU is encouraged to practice proforestation; logging and waste in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest; the cost of wood pellets in North Carolina; and protecting the endangered white bark pine in Golden BC.

Finally, get your trees early, there’s a Christmas tree shortage.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Time to change strategies on softwood lumber dispute

By Jim Hilton
Williams Lake Tribune
December 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The softwood lumber dispute with the United States has been going on since 1982 with at least four agreements, numerous extensions along with many appeals to the World Trade Organization to recover penalties imposed by the Americans. …Author Tony Kryzanowski writes that we should still try for an alternate approach to give our forestry workers a more stable work environment. So far the “Canadian strategy is to simply go along with the duties and then file complaints with both NAFTA and the WTO, with the belief that we have a winning hand, and that we have a strong chance of winning all the time. …This is the big gamble that Canadian negotiators and companies are taking. …We may be able to convince the Americans that there will be less pressure from BC lumber exports and explore other options that are fair to both sides.

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West Fraser Named a Canadian Top 100 Employer

West Fraser Timber Company
November 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Today the is company honoured to be named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers in 2020. The largest number of employers, to date, took part in the competition. Last spring Mediacorp, the company that runs the project, examined the recruitment histories of nearly 100,000 employers from across Canada asked 10,000 employers to apply. “This is the seventh year we’ve been recognized as one of Canada’s top 100 employers. Our company is what it is today because of our dedicated employees,” says Ray Ferris, President and CEO. …Selection as a Top Employer is based on a review​ of the company’s operations and human resources practices.

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Layoffs and mill closings continue to plague BC forest industry

By Karen Graham
Digital Journal
December 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver – As B.C. politicians continue to argue in the legislature about the ongoing job losses in the forest industry, thousands of laid-off workers and the communities they live in are left facing an uncertain future. At 95 million hectares (235 million acres), British Columbia is about twice the size of California. Around 64 percent of the province is forested – amounting to 60.3 million hectares (149 million acres). However, less than 1.0 percent of BC’s forest land is harvested annually. In the 2018 BC Forest Sector Overview – the forest sector was responsible for 32 percent ($14.9 billion) of B.C.’s total exports. The sector is the primary employer in many parts of the province and directly supports over 7,000 businesses and employs more than 50,000 people. Close to 4,000 forestry industry workers have been laid off in British Columbia already, while advocates continue calling for urgent government action to stem the bleeding. There have been shutdowns or curtailments at over 200 mills in the province to date.

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Pine-beetle kill’s effects are finally coming home

By Monique Keiran
The Times Colonist
December 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forestry companies have announced closures and production cuts at more than two dozen mills. …A number of forces led to us to this point. They include wildfire devastation, with 2017 and 2018 both setting records for area of forest burned. …We’re also at the end of the mountain pine beetle harvest — a period of high timber cuts permitted to salvage as much beetle-killed timber from the landscape as possible while it was still worth something. …It’s no coincidence that many of the communities closely tied to the recent closures are in the heart of mountain pine beetle country. …Back in 2003, I’d just started working at a forest research lab. …He started itemizing the cascade of the outbreak’s impacts. …Sixteen years later, that catastrophe is still unfolding. …We’ve been confronting many of the beetle outbreak’s consequences for years. We’re now facing the foreseen economic and social consequences.

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Organizer of B.C. Interior logging truck rally says province hasn’t acknowledged movement

By Chad Klassen
CFJC Today
November 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS — Howard McKimmon doesn’t know how much longer the forest industry in Merritt can last. “If something happened to our current mill that’s here now [Aspen Planers], the impact on Merritt would be devastating,” said McKimmon, the owner of Howard McKimmon Trucking in Merritt.  Aspen Planers is the only mill operating in the Nicola Valley. It too, however, has been impacted, now down to one shift. Three years ago, Tolko in Merritt shuttered due to a reduction in the annual allowable cut. Only barren land is left where thousands of logs used to sit. [Scroll past the huge banner ad on the site to see the full story]

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B.C. forest industry facing uncertain future as mills close across province

By Dirk Meissner
Canadian Press in the North Island Gazette
December 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

It seems barely a day goes by without an announcement about layoffs, temporary closures or permanent mill shut downs in British Columbia’s struggling forest industry. …BC Liberal forestry critic John Rustad… “It’s unfathomable to think of the carnage that’s already happened, let alone what will happen this winter.” …”Basically, I would say 80 per cent or more of the coastal forest sector is down,” Rustad said. “It’s not good. It’s really, really tough. …Finance Ministry budget numbers show forest revenues are down 11 per cent so far this year. …Donaldson said the request for relief is before the Ministry of Finance, but he added stumpage rates in the B.C. Interior dropped by 12 per cent in October and 24 per cent on the coast. …Industry spokeswoman Susan Yurkovich said it can rebound but companies need assurances from the government about long-term availability of a timber supply at a reasonable cost.

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Powassan’s Quality Hardwoods eager to invest for efficiency

By PJ Wilson
North Bay Nugget
November 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

POWASSAN – Peter Van Amelsfoort wants Quality Hardwoods to be more efficient and competitive “on the machinery side.” Already, the company that employs between 20 and 25 people has a couple of projects in the works, and Van Amelsfoort intends to make use of the new provincial Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program to increase his workforce and make the company more competitive. “This will certainly help on the innovation side,” Van Amelsfoort said Friday after Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli and Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski used Quality Hardwoods as the site to announce the new, user-friendly program. A project in the works now, he said, is converting the boilers for the kilns to burn wood pellets instead of oil, something that will save the company thousands of dollars annually.

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Fournier is new chair of Wood Manufacturing Council

By Rich Christianson
The Woodworking Network
November 30, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Pete Fournier

OTTAWA, Ontario – Pete Fournier, president and CEO of Triangle Group of Dieppe, New Brunswick, was recently elected the new chairman of the Wood Manufacturing Council. The WMC is a national not-for-profit organization that collaborates with industry, educators, trade associations and governments to implement human resource solutions to support the advanced wood processing sector in Canada. …Fournier succeeds Jim Deslaurier, director of business development for Deslaurier Custom Cabinets of Renfrew, Ontario. Dennis Harlock, professor, Wood Programs, Conestoga College of Kitchener, Ontario, was elected as the new vice chair.

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Nova Scotia government’s credibility on the line with Northern Pulp decision

By Jim Vibert
The Western Star
December 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Nova Scotia government has been adamant all along that “the science” will determine whether it approves Northern Pulp’s plan to treat the mill’s chemical brew on-site and then pour the wastewater into the Northumberland Strait. Well, unless the science is alchemy, astrology or perhaps political, the Pictou County pulp mill’s plan won’t pass muster. And on or before Dec. 17, Nova Scotia’s Environment Minister Gordon Wilson will say so or sacrifice his, and the provincial government’s credibility. …Wilson could approve Northern Pulp’s plan with conditions, but independent analysis… found so many gaps, gaffes and omissions that such an approval would have to come with more conditions. …Watching all of this warily from Ottawa is Canada’s new Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who’s given himself until Dec. 20 to decide whether Northern Pulp’s treatment proposal should be subjected to a federal environmental impact study. [a subscription is required to access the full story]

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Minister announces $50-million a year forestry program

By Bob McIntyre
My Timmins Now
November 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

John Yakabuski with Vic Fedeli

The Ontario government is making it easier for forestry companies to sustain and create new jobs in the future. John Yakabuski, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, was at Quality Hardwoods in Powassan Friday morning announcing a $50-million, five-year program. The minister has reformatted the former Forestry Growth Fund and renamed it the Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program (FSIIP). Funding will be made available over five years at $10-million dollars a year. Yakabuski says the program is now easier to apply for and it puts more emphasis on the impact the project will have on the local region. In making the announcement, Yakabuski said the Ford government heard that the cost of equipment is a barrier to investing in the sector and also that forestry companies wanted support for research and innovation.

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Use more timber frames in new housing starts ‘to boost UK forestry’

By Hamish Champ
Housing Today
December 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The next government must ramp up the amount of domestically-produced timber used in new housing starts across England from the current 22% to 40%, according to a new report. Right-leaning think tank the Policy Exchange said land policy after the UK leaves the EU should encourage the construction sector to use more home-grown timber. In a new report the group called for timber frames to account for 40% of new housing starts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by 2025, noting that in Scotland this figure was already over 80%. The Policy Exchange, which last week questioned housebuilding pledges from both Labour and the Conservatives, said timber frames currently accounted for 22% of new housing starts in England, 17% in Northern Ireland and 30% in Wales.

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European hardwood markets feel the pinch, International Hardwood Conference hears

The Timber Trades Journal
December 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

European hardwood demand is projected to fall 1.3% for the full year 2019, delegates at the International Hardwood Conference (IHC) in Berlin have heard. The… prevailing opinion that the European hardwood markets this year have felt the pinch of the global trade tensions and general slowdown of the economy, following a relatively positive period in 2018. Chinese demand for European hardwood has slowed down a little, while production in European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry countries is expected to have slowed down by 0.7% in 2019. …A key topic discussed was climate change and its consequences for the forestry and timber industries. In the context of this discussion, future tree species availability with regards to forest adaptation to climate change was examined. All presentations of the event will  be available here.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Open house for proposed tallest mass timber building on Vancouver Island

The Sooke News Mirror
December 1, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

COLWOOD, BC — A proposed affordable housing development that would be the tallest mass timber building on Vancouver Island will be the centre of conversation at an open house on Tuesday. The Greater Victoria Housing Society has applied for redevelopment to essentially double the size of the Colwood Lodge to 100 affordable housing rental units, with 15 storeys replacing its current four. …The building will aim to produce zero carbon emissions and be built to be at least 20 per cent more energy efficient, according to the developer. …The tower will be made with prefabricated mass timber panels instead of concrete and conventional wood construction. “The base material is sourced from sustainably managed B.C. forests and is factory-fabricated,” said Sukh Johal of the Canadian Wood Council. “…therefore, [it can] be installed quicker and quieter compared to conventional framing practices.”

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Could the Future of Houston’s Skyline Be…Wood?

By Morgan Kinney
Houstonia Magazine
December 1, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

While Rice students cheered the announcement of a sorely needed new wing for the school’s Hanszen College, outsiders heralded the project as a Houston milestone: the city’s first structure constructed from something called mass timber. …Some view the Ikea-for-buildings approach … as the future of architecture. The assembly process can shave off roughly 40 percent of construction time, and Vassallo says mass timber—whose design can render it as strong as steel or concrete—is appropriate for use in everything from mid-rise office buildings to skyscrapers. Recent changes to international building codes will permit the practice in structures up to 18 stories tall. But proponents say mass timber’s greatest promise lies in its sustainability. …The team behind the Hanszen project received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to research the new material’s ability “to maintain forest health and resiliency” through responsible harvesting.

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Forestry

Get your trees early: North American Christmas tree shortage felt in B.C.

By Cheryl Chan
The Vancouver Sun
December 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

Christmas-tree growers and sellers are reporting a tighter supply of trees this year, part of a North American-wide shortage. Pine Meadows Tree Farms in Chilliwack is one of the largest growers and sellers in the Lower Mainland. …But its wholesale division, which buys trees from growers across Canada and resells them to other retailers, is hit hard. “Basically, there’s not enough trees planted,” said owner Tim Louwen. “It’s a similar situation in the U.S., where Louwen tried but failed to get trees from U.S. suppliers: “They said there’s no chance.” …Since Fraser firs and other Christmas-tree species take about 10 years to mature, the 2008 recession is a primary cause of the low supply. …Combine that with a decade of unpredictable weather and now there’s a shortage.

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Planting two billion trees in Canada will be a tall order

By Peter Kuitenbrouwer
The Globe and Mail
November 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

In November, 1968, John Robarts, then premier of Ontario, planted a sugar maple tree at Queen’s Park in Toronto – the one billionth tree planted in Ontario. The province had planted these billion trees, mainly on private land, over a 60-year period, thanks to a network of provincially owned tree nurseries stretching from St. Williams Forestry Station on Lake Erie to Ferguson Tree Nursery near Ottawa. At their height, these nurseries pumped out tens of millions of seedlings a year, and distributed them to property owners for pennies apiece. During this year’s election campaign, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and joined the Climate Strike in Montreal, he promised a Liberal government will plant two billion trees over 10 years. This is a visionary pledge. New forests can soak up carbon and help us reach greenhouse-gas-reduction targets.

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Left behind: staggering level of waste at Great Bear Rainforest logging operations, data reveals

By Ben Parfitt
The Narwhal
November 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Large numbers of logs are being left behind at logging operations in the Great Bear Rainforest, according to data analyzed by The Narwhal. The Narwhal investigated the waste levels after receiving photographs of logs abandoned by Interfor on Gilford Island… According to a provincial government database that can be used to track logging rates by individual companies, Interfor — one of the world’s largest lumber companies — logged a little more than 493,000 cubic metres of wood in the North Island-Central Coast Natural Resource District, which includes the southern Great Bear Rainforest, in the first 10 months of 2019. During that same time period, the company reported leaving behind nearly 115,000 cubic metres of logs. Meaning for every four trees logged and taken to market at least one tree was left behind to rot in the forest from which it was logged.

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Remote B.C. ski lodge recognized for efforts to protect endangered whitebark pine

By Dominika Lirette
CBC News
November 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The owners of an alpine backcountry lodge near Golden, B.C., are trying to save the endangered whitebark pine trees that surround their remote mountaintop home.  The Sorcerer Lodge, which sits at an elevation of 2,050 metres in the Selkirk Mountains and can only be reached by helicopter, is in an ideal spot for the trees to grow. The whitebark pine favours high elevations with lots of sunlight. “Our trees … are some giant trees. They twist and turn in the branches and don’t grow like you’d expect most trees,” said Tannis Dakin, co-owner of the lodge. “Every one is completely different. Some of the branches go straight out from the trunk and then dip back down to the ground and back up again. They’re quite the characters and they’re really beautiful.”

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The Great Bear loophole: why old growth is still logged in B.C.’s iconic protected rainforest

By Ben Parfitt
The Narwhal
December 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Farlyn and Tavish Campbell

Tavish and Farlyn Campbell have a deeper appreciation for what goes on in British Columbia’s remote coastal inlets and forests than the vast majority of people who are twice their age. The twins, now 30, grew up on Sonora Island, which is only accessible by boat or floatplane. From the age of 13, they were skippering sailboats on multi-day journeys in and around what is today known as the Great Bear Rainforest. So when they tell you that things aren’t right in the so-called “jewel in the crown of B.C.,” they speak from direct experience. Tavish is the first to admit that the message is not an easy one for people to hear, especially with most British Columbians sold on the idea that the Great Bear Rainforest is somehow different from other regions of the province.

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Forest Defenders Released Days After Log Truck Protest

My Mary Starkweather and Meredith Dyer
Counter Punch
November 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Isabel Osheroff

Two activists, who had been arrested in conjunction to a protest where an activist locked their body to the underside of a log truck in an attempt to prevent access to Rainbow Ridge, were released from Humboldt County jail… The protest occurred  Monday, at Fox Camp Gate on the western boundary of Humboldt Redwood State Park… A dozen forest defenders rallied while one activist locked their arms to the front axle of a log truck, blocking access to Humboldt Redwood Company’s Rainbow Ranch logging site for seven hours on the last day of operations before winter weather was forecasted. …“Deputy Mendes used a pocketknife, solvents, an angle grinder, and bolt cutters to remove me from the steel lockbox, then dragged me out from under the truck,” said Isabel Osheroff, the protester who locked their body to the log truck. …Two arrestees face trial in December, while a third has yet to be charged.

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Forest Service wants judge to lift injunction on Bozeman timber project

By Michael Wright
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
November 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Federal officials believe they’ve done what a judge asked and should be able to begin a timber project on public land south of Bozeman, but the environmentalists who stopped the project still disagree.The U.S. Forest Service earlier this fall asked U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen to lift the injunction blocking the Bozeman Municipal Watershed and East Boulder projects, two projects meant to reduce wildfire fuel. The East Boulder Project is southeast of Big Timber, while the Bozeman project is south of town in the creek drainages that provide the city’s water.In a brief arguing for the injunction to be lifted, federal attorneys said the Forest Service followed the judge’s order to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the projects’ potential impacts to critical habitat for Canada lynx, a large cat listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

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USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nature Conservancy announce partnership promoting forest preservation

By John Markon
The Roanoke Times
November 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

…On average, an acre of eastern hardwoods sequesters 85 tons of CO2 equivalent. If you multiply that number by hundreds of trees, the global impact becomes readily apparent. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to support sustainable forests and carbon market development in targeted areas of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky through the Healthy Forest Reserve Program. The HFRP offers financial assistance in the form of easement payments for specific conservation actions on private forest and tribal lands. …The HFRP offers 30-year term and permanent easement options as well as a 30-year contract for tribal lands. USDA pays 75% of the value of land enrolled in 30-year easements, plus 75% of the average cost of the approved conservation practices. 

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Hawke’s Bay’s top forestry award has woman’s touch

By Roger Moroney
New Zealand Herald
December 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Kere Elliot

Kere Elliot from Elliot Logging has taken out the top award at this year’s Hawke’s Bay Forestry Awards and has become the third woman across the regions to pick up the Skilled Forestry Professional of the Year 2019 title. Heather Arnold of Nelson Forests took out the top award in the Top of the South Forestry Awards and Michelle Harrison of Wise on Wood took out the top award in the Northland Forestry Awards earlier this year. Elliot has been involved in Pan Pac harvesting operations for many years and within the industry is a well-respected and trusted tree felling and auditing specialist, and also took out the Women in Forestry Excellence Certificate. She has worked her way through all aspects of harvesting operations firstly as a worker and employee, to running a harvesting contracting crew with her husband Grant, as well as providing auditing and training services to the wide contract workforce.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Estonia is beginning to see the cost of wood pellets. Is North Carolina next?

By Elizabeth Ouzts
The Energy News Network
December 2, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Trees loom large in North Carolina lore. …Now, the state is set to become the world’s largest single source of wood pellets, capsules of dried wood that have become a controversial substitute for coal in power plants in Europe and Asia. As scientists say more natural, diverse woodlands are needed to suck carbon out of the atmosphere, North Carolina climate advocates have been pleading with state officials to rein in the industrial biomass industry. Across the Atlantic, Estonia offers a cautionary tale for what could happen if they don’t. Home to the world’s second largest pellet company, the small Baltic nation is converting many of its own storied forests from natural stands to tree farms. Activists say sacred groves and tourist attractions are suffering as a result with costly consequences for the country’s climate targets. 

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‘Let the forests grow’: protecting old trees key in EU’s fight against climate change

By Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times
December 2, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The European Union has a unique chance to effectively abate the dire consequences of the looming climate emergency on future generations — but to do so it must first solve the problems in its own backyard, a leading climate scientist said on Monday. William Moomaw, a leading author of a Nobel Prize-winning U.N. report on climate change…speaking on the EU’s role in building a sustainable future, highlighted a key measure which could help the EU attain its own goals: to protect the last of it remaining old forests. Citing recent scientific reports on the remarkable carbon-absorption capacities of old-growth or primaeval woodlands, Moomaw said it was urgent for EU leaders… needed to look past reforestation and the creation of young forests and embrace a notion he referred to as “proforestation,” which consists in letting trees grow old.

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Health & Safety

Aaron Frost earns Most Valuable Player in Forestry award

By Tyson Whitney
North Island Gazette
December 1, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Aaron Frost and Rob Moonen

Former Port McNeill Councillor Aaron Frost was recently honoured with a very well-deserved award. The Leadership in Safety Awards are presented each year at the annual Vancouver Island Safety Conference recognizing individuals for their contributions in supporting safety in the workplace and outstanding safety achievements. Frost won for the Most Valuable Player in Forestry, with the Forestry Safety Newsletter stating he was “Recognized for his wealth of safety experience in forestry… The 2019 Cary White Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award for Commitment to Safety Excellence was presented to Ron Judd. Nominated by the Coast Harvesting Advisory Council (CHAG) for his long-standing career to supporting safety in the forestry sector… The 2019 Most Valuable Player Award for Manufacturing went to Darren Beattie. 

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