Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: Canada West

Special Feature

What’s a Hoo-Hoo?

By Sandy McKellar
Vancouver Hoo-Hoo Club 48
July 12, 2019
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

The International Order of Hoo-Hoo: The Fraternal Order of the Forest Products Industry, is one of the longest standing industry service clubs in the world. …If you work in the forest and lumber sector, you’ve likely heard of this enigmatic club. Perhaps you’re a member. But do you know the history of the club and the origin of its name? Hoo-Hoo got its start in 1892 in the small town of Gurdon, Arkansas. …Founding member William Barnes wanted club directors to have “eerie and peculiar” names. For inspiration, he turned to a contemporary at the time – author Lewis Carroll –and his nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. …Finally – let’s get back to the curious Hoo-Hoo. What is it exactly? The name Hoo-Hoo came from a nickname given to a lumberman back in the late 1800’s due to an unruly tuft of his hair! …Join us in the beautiful village of Whistler in British Columbia, Canada, for the 127th HHI Convention

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Business & Politics

Canada Supports Indigenous Participation in Northern Quebec’s Forest Sector Français

By Natural Resources Canada
Cision Newswire
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

OUJÉ-BOUGOUMOU, QC,  – Canada’s forest sector continues to be an important generator of good jobs in communities across the country, including rural, remote and Indigenous communities in Quebec. The Government of Canada is working with Indigenous peoples to ensure that they not only participate in sustainable forestry projects but also benefit from initiatives created by their community, for their community. The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced a $2.7-million investment to Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation for a sustainable forestry project that will create jobs, boost the local economy and displace diesel use in the remote community. The funding will be used to upgrade and expand an existing biomass district heating system — a cost-effective, renewable-energy fuelled system — for the community, while also providing a market for local sawmill waste.

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Canfor only bought the right to harvest; they do not own the trees in our area

Letter by Glen Small
Clearwater Times
July 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canfor bought the right to harvest timber in this area from Slocan Forest Products, Canfor only bought the right to harvest; they do not own the trees. If Canfor closes down their mill at Vavenby then they lose the rights to the timber. The timber belongs to the people of the valley, not to any forest company. The reason that a lot of us are even here is because of the vast quantity of timber in this valley. The timber is the backbone of our employment opportunities right here, we should not allow Canfor to sell it off for huge profits to be manufactured somewhere else. Canfor should have realized that buying out a large mill operation already established in any community automatically takes on the responsibility expressed by the previous owner.

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Implications of reducing stumpage to help companies during poor markets

By Jim Hilton
The Quesnel Cariboo Observer
July 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

With the recent announcements of mill closures and pressure on the government to make changes to help lower production costs, I think it is a good time to review how stumpage is calculated and what are the best ways to make adjustments which will help and not hinder the situation. …When markets are high and stumpage is relatively low, lumber profits are good. …Companies’ profits drop quickly when the markets bottom out and the stumpage still remains high because of the review times built into the MPS formula. For example, the Stumpage Rate determination is designed to be an objective approach and is adjusted every 12 to 18 months for timber sales input and quarterly for the stand selling price. …While trying to tamper with the stumpage rate may not be a good idea… Maybe the 12-to-18-month adjustment period needs to be shorter.

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Chamber Roundtable highlights forestry concerns

CKPG TV Prince George
July 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE – A number of representatives with an interest in forestry were at the Chamber of Commerce offices, meeting with some MLA’s who have been touring communities affected by a downtown in the industry. There was talk about things like re-training opportunities and support services for displaced forestry workers and opportunities in other sectors, like energy. …The MLA’s have made stops in places like Ashcroft and Clearwater, which has been devastated by mill closures. They say the message there is around the need for some help. Now. …Those in attendance also voiced concerns over current policy, like the Chief Foresters plans with the Annual Allowable Cut, and what that could mean. …Bill Kordyban Jr., Owner of Carrier Lumber… “If we lose our AAC, we’re basically at the point where we’ll have to shut down. We’re a one-mill operation, we’re done.

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Western Forest Products strike on Vancouver Island set to enter third week

By Karl Yu
BC Local News
July 12, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

With a Western Forest Products strike on Vancouver Island about to enter its third week, the company has rejected mediation, says the union. The forest company and United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 have been in a labour dispute since July 1, after the union issued 72-hours’ strike notice. In a press release issued today, the union said it, with the aid of legal counsel and the B.C. Labour Relations Board, notified Western on Monday, that it “was prepared to accept a request for mediation with no preconditions, as renowned mediator Vince Ready was prepared to make himself available” if the two sides agreed. The union said Western Forest Products advised yesterday that they wouldn’t agree to Ready’s appointment. Ready’s resumé includes settlements in strikes involving teachers and construction and mining workers and Western’s refusal to agree to someone with those qualifications is in contrast to what it has previously stated regarding mediation, Brian Butler, USW Local 1-1937 president, said in the press release.

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Western Forest Products, union disagree over mediator as strike drags on

Canadian Press in CBC News
July 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Western Forests Products and the union representing about 2,600 striking forest workers in British Columbia say both sides want to begin negotiations but can’t agree on a mediator. The strike began on July 1 and involves hourly employees and contractors, affecting the company’s six mills and its timberland operations in the province. United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler said in a news release the union is ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available for talks. Butler said the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement. Susan Dolinski, vice-president of corporate affairs at Western Forests Products, said in an interview the company has been asking for mediation for weeks through the Labour Relations Board and both sides have expressed their preference for a mediator.

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Federation of Labour supports striking forestry workers

By Robert Barron
Ladysmith Chronicle
July 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Federation of Labour has announced a “hot edict” on Western Forest Products in a show of solidarity with striking forest workers. The move, welcomed by the United Steelworkers which represents many WFP workers in mills on the Island, means that members of the BCFED’s affiliated unions have been asked to no longer handle any WFP coastal lumber, log and wood products. …The strike affects all of the company’s United Steelworkers certified manufacturing and timberlands operations in B.C. “The announcement of a ‘hot edict’ is a significant but necessary escalation in what is frankly an employer-initiated dispute,” said Laird Cronk, president of the BCFED. “Through the solidarity of affiliated unions, the company’s products could lay dormant.” Babita Khunkhun, a spokeswoman for Western Forest Products, said the company respects the right of the union to exercise the hot-edict option.

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Morris’ frustration with the NDP regarding forestry sector boils over

By Brenda Pawliw
My Bulkley Lakes Now
July 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prince George-Mackenzie Liberal MLA Mike Morris is taking a swipe at Premier John Horgan and the NDP government for a recent announcement that no funding is coming to assist the struggling forestry sector. …Morris along with Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond will be attending a roundtable discussion regarding the sector tomorrow (Friday) at 10am from the Chamber of Commerce office on Vancouver Street and isn’t the least bit surprised NDP Forests Minister Doug Donaldson won’t be attending. …Morris and the BC Liberals plan to use this meeting as a sounding board so they can take the NDP to task once the Legislature resumes in the fall.

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Western Forest Products strike heats up with first ‘hot edict’ in a decade

By Alex McKeen
The Toronto Star
July 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER—Striking forestry workers on Vancouver Island are turning to a tactic that hasn’t been used in BC in 10 years to make sure trees cut down for Western Forest Products won’t get to market. A large local of the United Steelworkers is calling on other B.C. union members — particularly the 6,500-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) — to refuse to transport what they say are millions of raw logs felled on Vancouver Island. …The company says its “examining the legality” of the move. …The company says it’s working to fill customer orders and has a “contingency plan” while workers are on strike. The BC Federation of Labour, the umbrella organization representing most unions in the province, issued the “hot edict” on Wednesday. …The federation hasn’t issued such an order in 10 years.

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Government taking steps to increase fibre supply to mills, reduce log exports

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Government of B.C. is taking the first step toward ensuring that more B.C. logs are processed in B.C., creating jobs for British Columbians by applying a new, targeted fee-in-lieu of manufacturing for exported logs harvested from a coastal BC Timber Sales licence. …“This change will give B.C. mills more opportunity to get the fibre they need,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests. The fee-in-lieu is one of the changes that came out of the Coast revitalization initiative government launched last year, with the aim of transforming the Coast’s seminal forest sector. …While log exports will likely continue in areas that are remote and difficult for forest companies to access, the change will allow continued timber harvesting in coastal forests that have low-grade timber, so that forest communities facing economic challenges can maintain jobs in the harvesting sector and provide fibre to local mills. …Companies will still have to demonstrate that stands are uneconomical to qualify.

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Western and United Steelworkers Fighting over Saltwater Logs

By Kyle Christensen
My Cowichan Valley Now
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

United Steelworkers… have been off the job for a little more than a week and if this is a sign of things to come, it could be a long strike. Western Forest Products wanted the union to extend the strike notice by 144 hours, so the company could move its logs from salt to fresh water, as those logs were “imminently perishable.” Union President Brian Butler called this application “frivolous,” adding that the logs can last in saltwater for many many months”. The union said that if the Labour Relations Board allowed this application, it would give the company an unfair advantage. The LRB Vice-Chair dismissed the application, allowing the strike to go ahead on July 1.

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United Steelworkers Welcomes ‘Hot Edict’ of Western Forest Products

The United Steelworkers
Cision Newswire
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BURNABY, BC – The United Steelworkers (USW) is welcoming the announcement of a “hot edict” of Western Forest Products (WFP) by the BC Federation of Labour. Over 2,600 Steelworkers employed by WFP on Vancouver Island are on strike to save their pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability from being cut by the company. …WFP has decided to attack its own employees with attempts to introduce a two-tier pay system for new employees, elimination of the current pension plan. …The announcement of a “hot edict” is a significant escalation in this employer-initiated dispute. It means that all of the affiliated unions of the BC Federation of Labour will no longer handle any of WFP’s wood products. Most significantly, the refusal of maritime union workers from touching WFP’s raw log supply and finished products means that millions of the company’s products will lay dormant.

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Mayor for new working group

By Cheryl Jahn
CKPG Today
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE – The Intercon pulp mill is set to start one month of curtailments on Friday, while Northwood will do the same in mid-August. Those curtailments are the result of, amongst other things, curtailments in those sawmills that provide chips to the pulp mills. All of the curtailments around the region prompted the Mayor of Prince George to invite Mayors and Regional District Directors from those communities within the North Central Local Government Association to a meeting with the Council of Forest Industries, government and industry. “Because it has such a drastic impact on the entire region. Really, 100 Mile House to Haida Gwaii, north to the border, it was really important for me to bring these folks together so we could sit together in a room and have a conversation about where we’re going,” he explains.

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B.C. to begin increasing coastal log export charges

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

The B.C. government’s new coastal log export policy starts to take effect at the end of July, imposing a new fee structure for logs intended to keep more of them in the province for milling. The new fees are to be calculated on a case-by-case basis, depending on the harvest cost and value of the timber in each cutblock, Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said Wednesday. The system applies first to new B.C. Timber Sales harvests on the coast, expanding to other coastal timber harvesting in December 2019. …The changes remove an export exemption for western red cedar, a sought-after commodity that commands high prices in Japan and other overseas markets. Under the new system, cedar logs could only be exported for a cultural use, such as a totem pole or a Japanese or Korean temple.

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Powell River paper mill to undergo curtailment later this month

By Paul Galinski
The Powell River Peak
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Catalyst Powell River has announced a temporary 17-day curtailment of its paper operations in Powell River. …Krista Cuddy, the Paper Excellence mill’s interim general manager, said she regrets to announce that paper machines 10 and 11 will be curtailed, beginning Saturday, July 20, through to Tuesday, August 6. …The curtailment is a result of continued weakness in the market and a tight fibre supply in the province, Cuddy stated. …The bulletin indicated that the company will meet with the unions over the next few days to discuss the impact to the crews during the curtailment period.

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Province takes starting step to crimp log exports from B.C. coast

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The province… will curb log exports from B.C.’s coast by about 15 per cent over the next couple of years. Forest Minister Doug Donaldson said that while the measure might seem modest, it “is not the end goal, but a step in the direction we want to take,” in a transition for the timber industry on the coast. …Premier John Horgan’s NDP government… will punitively increase the surcharge it puts on logs for export. …However, the increase in fees will only apply to logs made available through B.C. Timber Sales auctions, which account for about 20 per cent of overall timber harvests. …In the extreme, it will rise to 50 per cent of the Vancouver log-market from the existing level of 10 per cent. …However, there is concern… that the increased surcharge will make logging too expensive in some instances, which would cost jobs, said David Elstone, of the Truck Loggers Association.

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Supports offered to those affected by Vavenby mill closure

By Jaime Polmateer
The North Thompson Star/Journal
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Myles Burns

Community members had a chance to hear about supports offered to help ease the impact of Canfor’s Vavenby mill closure at a town hall meeting early this week and were encouraged to find out what help they may be eligible for. Myles Bruns, regional economic manager for the Ministry of Forests, is part of a community transition team, and insisted residents voice concerns so the ministry can try and figure out the best way to carry the community through the tough situation following the layoffs of more than 170 local employees. …Bruns said the economic development piece is trying to help the community bounce back. …He stressed that workers and contractors who are now out of work should register with WorkBC as soon as possible.

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Vavenby closure will help Adams Lake mill in Shuswap stay alive

By Martha Wickett
The Salmon Arm Observer
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Brad Bennett

The demise of Canfor’s Vavenby sawmill near Clearwater is giving new life to the Adams Lake sawmill. This was part of the message that Brad Bennett, woodlands manager with Interfor’s Adams Lake division, brought to Salmon Arm council on July 8. Bennett came to ask for council’s support of Interfor’s bid to take over the Canfor timber rights. New legislation requires a public interest test on any tenure, he explained. Bennett has also visited the Village of Chase council, where the highest number of Adams Lake employees live, and received support there for the plan. …Bennett explained the mountain pine beetle killed much of the log supply in the early 2000s. …Bennett says with the additional timber supply from Canfor, “we become whole again.” …He said the Adams Lake Division employs roughly 235 non-union hourly employees and another 250 employees contracted.

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Fort St. John forestry roundtable looks for solutions in wake of curtailments

The Alaska Highway News
July 10, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The City of Fort St. John is looking to move workers from Peace Valley OSB to the Site C dam, and ensure governments, health agencies, and banks are providing them with supports as the mill shuts down indefinitely later this summer. Mayor Lori Ackerman called the indefinite curtailment of the OSB plant, coupled with a summer curtailment at the Taylor pulp mill, an “economic emergency” at a forestry roundtable held with business leaders in the city last week. City council, along with their counterparts in Taylor, have been assigned tasks to help minimize the impacts of the shutdowns on workers and the local economy, Ackerman said. Those tasks range from mental health to education, finance to housing, to working to ensure future jobs in forestry. …Forestry employs more than 7,000 people in the Northeast. Transitioning any workers to the Site C dam would only be temporary, Ackerman said.

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Liberals capitalizing on NDP forest file absence

By Bill Phillips
Prince George Daily News
July 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

In government, you have to do something. In politics, you have to look like you’re doing something. Right now the NDP aren’t accomplishing much of either when it comes to allaying concerns of Interior communities hit by temporary and permanent mill closures. In reality, there is little government can do when major employers close down other than help fast track Employment Insurance claims, set up job re-training programs, etc. Government can’t swoop in force a company to re-open or bail it out (unless, of course, you’re the federal government and we’re talking pipelines, but that’s another story). But governments can at least show that they are concerned. While I’m sure the NDP is concerned about job losses in the forest industry, it can do a better job of showing it. They should probably take a page out of the Liberal handbook.

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Metro Vancouver residents should care about small-town B.C.

By Merlin Blackwell, Mayor of Clearwater
Vancouver Sun
July 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Merlin Blackwell

A Metro Vancouver reporter asked me recently, “Why should I care about the mill closing in your small town?” The small towns are where the wealth of this province begins. Towns like mine — Clearwater — are …where the big truckloads of raw resource dollars come from. Sure, they may get refined into something cleaner and prettier in the big cities like Vancouver, but our places are the places where dirty hands carve wealth from the forests and the ground … into waiting trucks. A century or so ago, everyone in the big cities knew exactly why rural B.C. was important to the provincial economy. Everything flowed past them in boats and barges from the Interior. …We are the birthplace of the wealth of this province. …And you need to care because you need us, too. If we go dry, you also will go dry.

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Canfor Stock Poised to Double this Summer

By Christopher Liew
The Motley Fool Canada
July 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

An integrated forest products company may not be as popular as bank stocks, energy stocks, or tech stocks. However, Canfor could be one of the stock sensations of the season. The value of the stock has the potential to double this summer. …CFP has underperformed so far after two quarters and is down 33.45% year to date. It would take a miracle to achieve the 52-week high of $33.74, but the prospects of hitting the $20 mark are plausible. Earnings have been growing at a slower pace, although the net income in 2018 of $354.9 million is 1,336% better than the 2015 figures. …But overall, Canfor reported $606.6 million consolidated operating income, which was highest ever recorded in over 10 years. It’s a 9% jump, or a $51.2 million increase, from 2017.  …This time last year, the stock was flying high at $31.14, so my prediction of the $11 price tag possibly doubling this summer is a reasonable estimate.

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No cash for B.C.’s forestry sector, but millions for Vancouver symphony

By Dan Davies, MLA for Peace River North
The Alaska Highway News
July 9, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Horgan

By his own admission, Premier John Horgan confessed the mess created by his botched caribou recovery plan was “my bad.” I give him credit for admitting to his own mistake, but one would hope our premier has learned from this huge misstep, let alone repeat another. …On Friday, it was revealed that B.C. posted a total of 3,700 job losses. …this includes the announcement of 190 people who will lose their pay cheque when Louisiana Pacific shuts down its Peace Valley OSB in Fort St. John. …NDP finance minister Carole James already signaled that there would be no new provincial funding to assist a forest industry in crisis. …On Sunday, Horgan announced he will blow a million dollars to purchase free tickets to the symphony for families located throughout the Lower Mainland, a region filled with NDP-held ridings.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Cricket for all: UBC researchers use algorithms to produce affordable cricket bat

By Rehmatullah Sheikh
CBC News
July 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Phil Evans

As New Zealand and England battle it out in the 2019 Cricket World Cup final in London, an attempt to transform a crucial aspect of the sport has begun thousands of miles away at the University of British Columbia.  UBC forestry professor Phil Evans is leading a project that uses an algorithm to design a cricket bat that’s cheaper to produce but just as powerful as the one used by professional cricketers.  Evans said his aim is to see a high-quality cricket bat in the hands of every aspiring cricketer. “In India alone hundreds of thousands of kids play cricket and idolize cricketers, and they want a bat that resembles the one that cricketers are using,” said Evans who spoke to CBC from Australia.  “We need to use cheaper material but we don’t want to give them a bat that’s not a good one.” …According to Evans, the process can be used on cheaper wood alternatives like Kashmir willow or Canadian-grown poplar to make mass-producing bats more affordable. 

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Nanoose Bay man fashions drums out of rare and unusual wood

By Emily Vance
Nanaimo News Bulletin
July 11, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Brad Wood

If ever a craftsman was aptly named, it’s Brad Wood. Wood runs a silviculture nursery in Nanoose Bay, but lately his true passion has been making drums. Snare drums made of teak, bird’s eye maple, walnut and purpleheart grace the display he debuted at Nanoose Bay Art in the Garden this past June. A drummer and woodworker in his spare time, Wood first saw a snare drum made of purpleheart wood when browsing online. …Undaunted, he set about trying to recreate it. “I probably burned through at least a dozen different, cheaper woods… It took a little while — a month or two — and once I got everything set up… and realized I can do it, I just kind of got obsessed. With woods, actually,” said Wood. …Those interested can find Wood’s work via Woodshop Drums on Facebook and Instagram, or by contacting woodshopdrums@gmail.com.

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Nelson creates rules for wildfire resistant landscaping and building

By Bill Metcalfe
Nelson Star
July 11, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Nelson city council has changed some of its construction and landscaping bylaws to help make the city more resistant to wildfire. …The new restrictions are all based on FireSmart, a nationally accepted set of principles about fire behaviour and how to lower fire risk to structures. …A third restriction will also apply only in Development Permit Area 3 (see map) for new buildings. Wood shingles or shakes will not be permitted. Eaves, attics and under-floor openings must be screened. Wood and vinyl siding will not be permitted. Windows must be double-paned or tempered. There are also restrictions related to chimneys, decks, and porches. “That is a huge shift,” Mayor John Dooley said. “Fire retardant materials are critical.” He said vinyl siding is made from petrochemicals “and we want to reduce the use of those products, and they have aesthetic appeal but they have no structural integrity or value against fire.”

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Forestry

First Nations, environmentalists, mill workers push province to overhaul forestry rules

By Chad Pawson
CBC News
July 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The province is taking the next step in overhauling an act that manages B.C.’s trees, wildlife, helps slow climate change, and supports reconciliation with First Nations. …stakeholders hope it will be updated in a way that will not only make forestry more sustainable in B.C. but maintain and even increase industry jobs in the province. …The B.C. NDP campaigned on reforming the forestry sector in 2017 by consulting more with First Nations and managing the province’s wild spaces so that ecosystems are preserved while maintaining logging jobs in the province. …”We can no longer apply yesterday’s thinking to today’s challenges,” said Doug Donaldson as part of a public engagement process. …FRPA was introduced in 2004 by the Liberal government and some people criticized it for reducing the power the province had to monitor and manage forestry operations.

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Kamloops part of program training new forestry workers

Kamloops This Week
July 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kamloops is one of three communities part of a $3-million provincial program aimed at training 100 new forestry workers amidst mill closures and curtailments in the region. Stillwater Consulting has been tapped by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to deliver the Advanced Forestry Training program in Kamloops, Cranbrook and Nanaimo. Students will earn 11 industry certifications, including silviculture surveyor certification, occupational first aid level 3 and basic chainsaw operator. …The 19-week program will prepare students for jobs as environmental technicians, recreational trail builders, silviculture surveyors and wildland firefighters. The program is recruiting students for a July 22 start date. Overall, 36 students per city can participate.

 

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Old-growth forest should be returned to 30% of original level, researchers say

By Clare Hennig
CBC News
July 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A team from the University of Victoria is pushing for greater protection of old-growth forests in British Columbia in a report that calls for at least 30 per cent of the province’s original forest to be preserved.  Keith Schille, a law student at UVic and lead author of the new report, said preservation quotas often look at the amount of forest currently standing rather than taking into account what was there in the past.  “We don’t want to just protect 30 per cent of what little of the trees are left here on the Island,” he told CBC’s All Points West. “If we want to conserve biological functioning and ecological integrity in these ecosystems, we have to protect 30 per cent of what naturally would be in these systems.” Schille estimates that only about 20 per cent of Vancouver Island’s original forest is still standing compared to before deforestation initiatives. 

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Fires and flooding: how B.C.’s forest policies collide with climate change

By Tegan Hansen
The Narwhal
July 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbians have a complicated relationship with forests. …We promote our provincial identity as nature-lovers through old-growth forests on tourism ads. But in many ways, we never left the gold rush era of destructive, unsustainable industries that wreak havoc on the land. Meanwhile, the forest-based communities we cherish are increasingly at risk. …Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, putting us on the frontlines of global climate change. But the time to “stop” climate change has passed. Now, we’re left bracing for the worst impacts of the climate emergency by adopting strategies to make our communities more resilient to increasing wildfires and devastating floods. …One of the most obvious strategies? Protecting the old-growth forests and intact forests — meaning landscapes not fragmented and degraded by industrial activity — still standing in BC.

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Grants will reduce wildfire risks in Southeast Fire Centre

The Nelson Daily
July 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government said it has allocated another $1,413,349 in Community Resiliency Investment program grants to eight local governments and First Nations communities in the Southeast Fire Centre to help support wildfire risk reduction projects. These grants are part of a second round of 44 grants distributed province-wide from the program’s first application intake. “The use of FireSmart principles is one of the best ways to safeguard our neighbourhoods,” said Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall. “These eight additional Community Resiliency Investment grants will help protect more communities within the Southeast Fire Centre.” The total number of Community Resiliency Investment program grants allocated provincewide to date is 129, amounting to more than $9.8 million.

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Big, old B.C. trees produce mutations over time that could improve success: UBC

By Dirk Meissner
The Canadian Press in the Kelowna Daily Courier
July 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA – Researchers collected DNA from the tops of some of Canada’s tallest trees to search for mutations that could provide evidence of how the ancient forest giants evolve to survive. It involved ascending 20 Sitka spruce trees on Vancouver Island, averaging 80 metres tall and ranging in age from 220 years to 500 years old, to reveal that the old-growth trees developed mutations to their genetic code as they grow and age. Prof. Sally Aitken, associate dean in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia, said they wanted to know whether mutations that occur during growth, as opposed to those during reproduction, could add up to substantial changes for the trees. …The research is the first evidence of the large amount of genetic variation that can accumulate in the trees over centuries, she said. Scientists have long known about mutation growth over time, but little about its frequency and contribution to genetic variation, Aitken added.

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Public Consultation on Amendments to FRPA: Forest Practices Board’s Submission to Government

BC Forest Practices Board
July 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dear Minister Donaldson:

Re: Public Engagement on Amendments to the Forest and Range Practices Act

As part of government’s public consultation on proposed amendments to FRPA, the Forest Practices Board is pleased to submit our comments on the need for modernized planning under FRPA. The Board is recommending that government adopt a tactical forest planning process to direct forestry operations on Crown land, as described in a special report that was published today and is available on our website. …The process recommended by the Board would take broad objectives from land use plans and translate them into a plan for achieving the desired future forest on a specific area of land. The Board suggests the process must be inclusive of Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and the public, integrate all forest values, be place based and forward looking, be embedded in the forest management system and include monitoring and continuous improvement over time.

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B.C. puts $3.3 million into forestry training

By JOC News Service
Journal of Commerce
July 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The province of British Columbia will fund $3.3 million towards training and work experience in the forestry sector. Stillwater Consulting will deliver the training on the government’s behalf in Cranbrook, Kamloops and Nanaimo, B.C. with students able to earn 11 different certifications including basic chainsaw operator, silviculture surveyor certification and occupational first aid – level 3. The program also includes a three-week job placement with local forestry employers. …“Stillwater Consulting’s Advanced Forestry Skills Training Program is completely unique in B.C.’s forest industry. It’s practical, it’s hands on and most importantly, it sets graduates up with the skills they need for immediate success once they join the working world. When our new employees come to us with these skills already, it saves us a lot of training time on our end,” Nupqu Development Corporation senior project manager Tim LaRade said.

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Managing forests with mountain bikers in mind

By Blair McBride
BC Local News
July 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Frank Varga

…managing a forest with a recreation aim …requires a lot of careful planning, balancing of values and hard work. “A working forest is an area where we manage for all the social and environmental and economic values. In this area our intent is to manage for the recreational values,” said Frank Varga, General Manager of the Burns Lake Community Forest (BLCF), during a public tour near Kager Lake on June 26. That area – including Boer Mountain – is part the BLCF’s Kager Recreation Area Polygon (forestry management unit) and comprises about 2,849 hectares. Of that, the project area proposed for activities is 1,300 ha and 174 ha was slated for harvesting. The purpose of the project was to reduce the fire hazards in the area where one of the main users is the Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association (BLMBA) and to start the process of protecting infrastructure on Boer Mountain, including the valuable radio tower.

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Scientists did not euthanize 24 endangered caribou in Northern B.C., as B.C. MLA claimed

By Betsy Trumpener
CBC News
July 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

B.C.’s opposition critic for caribou recovery has clarified a false social media post, days after he stated scientists euthanized 24 endangered mountain caribou in Northern B.C. “If there’s errors and stuff made, I certainly don’t want to be part of what would be considered fake news,” Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad told CBC News in an interview. “At the same time, when information  like that comes forward, it’s a piece of information that’s worth sharing.” Rustad, a former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister, said he was alerted to the euthanization story by a logging contractor in northeastern B.C., whose land was used in the caribou study. The MLA said the contractor is facing the loss of work and staff layoffs due to caribou protection efforts. …The euthanasia story “was very shocking to hear,” Rustad told CBC News in an interview. “That’s why I posted it.” Rustad said he didn’t try to verify the information.

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Can government incentives to private companies help solve B.C.’s wildfire crisis?

By Jesse Johnston
CBC News
July 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Robert Gray

Fire ecologist Robert Gray makes the same argument every year — wildfires are at a crisis level and removing their fuel by thinning British Columbia’s forests is the best way to mitigate them. Gray also gets frustrated annually at what he believes is a lack of investment in wildfire prevention in B.C…. That’s why Gray is taking an entirely different approach this time, knowing full well that it won’t be popular with many people in the construction industry and free market capitalists. The idea, in a nutshell, is for the provincial government to provide financial incentives for private companies to remove the biomass that jeopardizes B.C.’s forests. “We understand the fire science pretty well, but maybe this is an economics issue,” he said. “Maybe we’re approaching it the wrong way.” Gray says a government subsidy would make it profitable for forestry companies to harvest wood that either goes untouched or ends up in slash piles.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Changing Climate, Vanishing Old Growth Bring Increase Fire Risk for Coastal Forests

By Brandon Wei, graduate student, UBC School of Journalism
The Tyee
July 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

It rains in Zeballos. …But despite the region’s average annual precipitation of 163 inches — more than three times that of Vancouver — the community of about 100 people was threatened when lightning sparked a wildfire last August. …The fact that some of the wettest forests in North America are now considered candidates for wildfires signals the severe shifts being caused by climate change. It means that old growth trees, critical for forest resiliency and traditionally quite fire resistant, are increasingly under threat. “We’re seeing impacts in places in coastal B.C. that are very unique, [which] speaks to the multi-year drought we’ve been experiencing,” said Lori Daniels, a professor at the University of British Columbia. …Much of the forests in coastal B.C. have been logged over the last century. Now younger second-growth forests dominate the landscape, and they are not nearly as fire resistant.

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Forest Fires

Pikangikum First Nation evacuation plan paused due to lack of host communities: chief

By Emerald Bensadoun
Canadian Press in Global News
July 10, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Evacuation by land and water of an Indigenous community threatened by a forest fire in northern Ontario has been put on hold because of a lack of places to send the residents, its chief said on Wednesday. The evacuation of Pikangikum First Nation was now expected to resume on Thursday, as crews battled a fire burning about six kilometres to the southwest. The Ontario government said it was reaching out to mayors across the province to ask them to host rest of Pikangikum’s 3,800 residents. …Smoke inhalation was a serious issue on Tuesday, prompting Environment Canada to issue a special air quality alert, but Hoppe said some of the smoke had lifted, making it easier to airlift residents out of Pikangikum. Hoppe said Thunder Bay was hosting 600 evacuees in hotels, and was looking at the logistics of taking in more _ regardless of whether Pikangikum can find other hosts.

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