Old-growth logs head to a mill from a Fraser River log sort. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Log exports high on agenda for B.C. NDP and forest industry

Coastal old growth not running out, logger group says

Forest industry leaders are gathering in Vancouver this week to hear from the B.C. government how it will move ahead on the province’s log export policies, after years of NDP demands while in opposition to reduce log exports in an effort to keep local sawmills going.

B.C. cabinet orders allowing logging contractors on the Central and North Coast to export up to 20 per cent of their unprocessed logs are due to expire at the end of January. It was reduced from 35 per cent by the previous B.C. Liberal government in 2013, with a portion retained to keep logging companies working in remote regions where there are few viable options for trucking to sawmills.

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson are expected to address the annual convention of the Truck Loggers Association, which has argued for many years that premium log export revenues are vital to keep loggers in business so they can also harvest lower-grade timber to bring to B.C. mills.

RELATED: Export laws hurt Northwest B.C. forest companies

RELATED: Winter Harbour moving from logging to tourism

Contractors are also waiting to hear recommendations from former NDP premier Dan Miller, hired by the current government last summer to find ways to help struggling logging contractors stay in business. They face high equipment costs, skilled labour shortages and movement into more remote timber cutting areas.

B.C. Interior loggers are facing sharply reduced timber harvest levels in the wake of widespread pine beetle infestations, aggravated by two straight record years for forest fire area. The combination of Interior log supply reduction and a slump in U.S. lumber prices has led to multiple sawmill closures and shift reductions in recent months.

The coastal industry, meanwhile, faces a steady stream of environmental attacks on logging of old-growth trees. This is despite the increase in protected areas that has led to a one-third drop in annual allowable cut in coastal forests since 1985.

TLA executive director Dave Elstone has been outspoken in response to urban media reports based on claims by groups such as Sierra Club B.C., which recently compared the province to Brazil in its threat to rainforest preservation.

“Through existing conservation efforts, we are never going to run out of old growth on Vancouver Island,” Elstone wrote in response to a Vancouver newspaper’s promotion of Sierra Club claims.

“In fact, it is the law in B.C. to replant and reforest with natural, indigenous species for all areas harvest on Crown land; 200 million trees are planted annually in B.C., or about three seedlings for every tree that is harvested.”

Statistics Canada reported this week that while B.C. pulp and newsprint exports rose more than 20 per cent in 2018, lumber exports dipped slightly between January and November compared to the same period in 2017.

With wood products demand slowing in China, log exports fell much more, 8.9 per cent, in the same period. Value-added wood product exports were also down 3.5 per cent, and cedar shake and shingle shipments fell by more than 21 per cent.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Last call for the ever-vanishing payphone in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Where many phones once resided, only memories remain

Developers go back to drawing board after high-rise application deferred by Parksville council

IAG Developments has proposed a multi-building development on city’s waterfront

WATCH: Parksville Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first extended steps in nearly three decades

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Parksville man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Nick Major, 21, was a taekwondo instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

Rescue required after woman falls trying to climb down from Nanaimo walkway

Husband says his wife fell trying to find a place to urinate

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

B.C. First Nation’s group using ads in Texas targeting company for fuel spill

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Most Read