Cedar log is donated to a B.C. Central Coast school to be carved into a totem pole. New provincial log export rules prohibit the export of cedar and cypress logs, and change the formula for allowing log exports. (B.C. government)

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

The B.C. government’s new log export rules aren’t allowing increased log exports, they’re on a path to phase them out and the harvesting jobs that go with them, says a logging company with operations in Northwest B.C.

NorthPac Forestry Group has partnerships with Gitxsan, Haisla and Tahltan Nations, among the Indigenous communities that now control much of the timber supply in the B.C. Northwest. NorthPac CEO Cathy Craig has spoken out about claims from Skeena Sawmills that new log export limits from the region are increasing and threatening its Terrace sawmill with reduced log supply.

The previous government’s order allowed up to 20 per cent of logs to be exported from the region without offering them for sale to B.C. log buyers. The new export limit is higher, but includes logs that no local buyer wanted to bid on, Craig says in a letter to the Terrace Standard. (Full letter below)

“No one can operate under this kind of uncertainty, spending millions of dollars in planning and harvesting, only to find that the purchase offers for the logs from the local sawmill will not cover the cost of harvesting and delivery to them, never mind allow for profit,” Craig wrote.

“That means harvesting will decline or stop, entrepreneurs will lose business, people will lose jobs, communities will lose revenue. The government has provided a short-term fix to let us continue operating. But our calculation shows we will have zero Order in Council [cabinet approved] export capability within six months.”

Skeena Sawmills president Roger Keery raised his objections to the new rules in a letter to Forests Minister Doug Donaldson in late July. (Full letter below.)

Keery argued that the changes would lead to more export of high-grade logs from the region, adding to a shortage of marketable logs for his company’s sawmill, the only one still operating in the region.

Craig says Skeena Sawmills has two large forest tenures in the Terrace area and a third one south of Kitimat, but harvested less than half the available timber volume in the past five years.

“In the meantime, they have made a habit of threatening to block export sales, and as the sole bidder for this same volume through B.C. Timber sales, they force the harvester to sell them logs at below the cost of harvest,” Craig wrote.

The forests ministry issued a statement to Black Press last week, saying it is working with Skeena Sawmills and other forest industry businesses to monitor the effects of its export policy changes. The ministry questioned Skeena’s estimates of log exports, noting that log exports are down so far in 2019 compared to 2018.

“The minister and premier have both stated that we will be monitoring the effects of the policy changes and if there are unforeseen impacts we will take another look,” the ministry stated.

Northpac Forest Letter Logs 2019-08-16 by Tom Fletcher on Scribd

Skeena Sawmills.donaldson.j… by Tom Fletcher on Scribd

Forests Ministry Response A… by Tom Fletcher on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Smithers woman awarded $55K in RCMP excessive force suit

Irene Joseph alleged false arrest and assault and battery related to a 2014 incident in Smithers

Cannabis shop soon to open in Witset

Indigenous Bloom shop to be followed by cannabis cultivation facility in closed down sawmill

Celebrations continue for Tsilhqot’in Nation after court victory against Taskeo Mines Ltd.

Supreme Court of Canada upholds 2014 decision rejecting New Prosperity mine on May 14, 2020

Orphaned bear cub named after Snowbirds Capt. Jenn Casey to be cared for in Smithers

Neighbours assist in capture of Tappen Triplets now in care of Northern Lights Wildlife Society

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Still a lot of work to do to fully connect regional district

Draft strategy shows dependence on on single fibre optic cable route, poor cellular service on roads

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

Most Read