Tree planting for B.C.’s Interior has been delayed until the beginning of May so that procedures around COVID-19 precautions can be implemented. (Black Press file photo)

B.C. tree planting season delayed until early May due to COVID-19 precautions

Companies will have to adhere to strict provincial health officer guidelines

Hundreds of potential tree planters poised to work in B.C. began keeping daily isolation logs a week ago in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone that plans to come and work has to spend two weeks filling out this log, describing how isolated they are and if they are having any symptoms,” said Mikin Fischer, office manager for Dynamic Reforestation Ltd. in Williams Lake.

The company has about 300 planters lined up for the season to plant from camps between Clearwater and Fort St. John and Fischer said they are trying to get them to work.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development confirmed that starting this spring, 308 million seedlings were scheduled to be planted in the province over a 10-week period.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to ensure that our operations are in alignment with the direction provided by the provincial health officer.”

With the support of BC Timber Sales and the Western Forestry Contractor’s Association (WCFA), B.C.’s chief forester requested any Interior planting that has not started, be delayed until the beginning of May to accommodate any new guidance or procedures.

Read more: Cariboo wildfire risk management efforts dampened by COVID-19 restrictions

The request further acknowledged that planting already taking place on the Coast or for contractors ready to begin planting, could do so with strict adherence to current provincial health officer guidance.

Collaborative processes between government, BCTS, licensees and the WFCA have been underway to prepare for this year’s planting season in light of COVID-19.

These include camp health and safety procedures, workforce support, communications, and planned ongoing communication with indigenous leaders and local governments.

This year’s tree planting program is in response to legal reforestation obligations, the 2017 and 2018 wildfires and the strategic use of reforestation to mitigate climate change.

“Our reforestation program must take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of workers and the communities they work in,” the spokesperson added.

Dynamic has six camps, but Fischer said they are anticipating that only four or five will be in operation this year.

Planters come from all over, she added.

One is a marathon runner who volunteers with Doctors Without Borders in the off season, another two didn’t return to plant because they recently passed their bar exams.

Fischer said she also received a call from one of the laundromats in Williams Lake informing her they are good to go and ready for the company’s tree planters, but have different rules because of the pandemic.

“I thought that was cool — I love how our community is coming together.”



news@wltribune.com

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

The Mountain Market showcases local goods

The Mountain Market is held each Sunday morning in Fernie’s Rotary Park

Summer races kick off at Fernie Alpine Resort

FAR jumps into their summer programming with mountain biking and trail running races

Summer Stories Around Town program encourages outdoor reading in Elk Valley

With storywalks and clothesline stories in Fernie and Sparwood, everyone can get reading

School District 5 identifies funding needs in yearly budget report

The SD5 board presented three main projects that need increased funding in the coming years

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Most Read