B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson and North Island MLA Claire Trevena speak to out-of-work loggers, Port Hardy, Dec. 19, 2019. (Youtube/Island Voice TV)

B.C. delays wood waste penalties in coastal forest industry crisis

Coastal stumpage fees to be slashed as strike, layoffs drag on

The B.C. government is backing off from some of its coastal forest industry reforms as Vancouver Island and coastal logging has ground to a halt due to high costs and a six-month strike against Western Forest Products.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has announced that the NDP government’s plan to increase coastal log export charges is being delayed for six months, and new rules to require removal of waste wood from logging sites are also being eased.

Provincial stumpage fees on timber from Crown land are also being substantially cut, and the formula changed to make logging more viable, Donaldson told a meeting of unemployed industry contractors in Port Hardy on Thursday.

“We’re revisiting and revising the stumpage system on the coast, and as of Jan. 1 it will be a lumber-based system primarily, versus a log price system,” Donaldson said. “That means that the average stumpage rate on the coast will be $8.82 cents [per cubic metre] versus $18.73 now.

“We’re able to do that because it’s an annual review process and we want to make sure that the factors that go into stumpage are the same as they are in the Interior, so it won’t be in any way seen as a political intervention in the softwood lumber dispute. But it will make an impact, and we’ve heard that from you and others.”

RELATED: B.C. to begin increasing coastal log export charges

RELATED: Cutting B.C. wood waste results in some bleeding

Donaldson and North Island MLA Claire Trevena have faced demands by forest contractors and workers to do something about the United Steelworkers strike against Western, and to offer assistance to contractors who have no say in the labour dispute, can’t work and don’t qualify for Employment Insurance. Community leaders in North Island communities have pleaded with Premier John Horgan that homes are being sold, trucks repossessed and food banks overwhelmed.

Trevena opened the meeting by pleading for patience. (See video below.)

“There is no magic wand,” she said. “We’re not going to be able to fix everything at once.”

Donaldson said the new penalties for leaving usable wood waste behind are being updated.

“We’re revising the fibre recovery zone boundaries, based on cost data that we finally received from industry on where those boundaries should be more refined,” Donaldson said. “We do want to see more residuals brought out of the forest but we understand we have to refine the boundaries of those areas so they make economic sense.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

Edibles now offered in Fernie cannabis shops

As of October 17, 2019, almost a year after the official legalization… Continue reading

SAR picks up two sledders after night spent outside

Fernie and Sparwood Search and Rescue (SAR) were called to action on… Continue reading

Community Appreciation Day at FAR

A thick blanket of snow fell on skiers and snowboarders alike on… Continue reading

The Fernie Hotel to host bushfire fundraiser

Putting a charitable spin on your typical Sunday Funday this weekend at The Fernie Hotel

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Hwy 3 to close for avalanche control on Jan. 19

The road is expected to be closed from noon to 3 p.m.

Most Read