Tahtsa Timber owner Klaus Posselt positioned an excavator over rail lines on his property to stop traffic from coming through.

Tahtsa Timber owner Klaus Posselt positioned an excavator over rail lines on his property to stop traffic from coming through.

Contractor takes on West Fraser

Klaus Posselt said he was fed up with being bullied over logging rates, changing terms of contracts and a lack of communication.

A Burns Lake contractor is taking on West Fraser in a dispute over ownership of a rail line near the Houston Forest Products mill.

Tahtsa Timber owner Klaus Posselt said he was fed up with being bullied by the forestry company over issues such as logging rates, changing terms of contracts and a general lack of communication.

On March 13, he took matters into his own hands and positioned an excavator over a rail line on his property located just off Highway 16 in Houston. West Fraser does not have an easement to the rail line and has no rights to it. Because of this, HFP has been unable to ship their product out by rail.

The action was the culmination of years of frustration of dealing with West Fraser, Posselt said.

When it was announced last year that HFP was shutting down, Posselt said he heard the information secondhand.

When they shut down the mill, we heard it on the street,” he said.

We’ve been a significant contractor for them for the last 18 years. Then we couldn’t get an answer from them on how it’s going to impact us and that dragged on for two months.”

On Friday, Posselt received a Notice of Motion to say West Fraser is seeking a special injunction allowing them access to the rail line.

He had until Wednesday to respond.

They need to address the issues and give us some definitive answers,” Posselt said.

Logging is the largest and most continuous business in our community and we’re in service to the big boys,” he said. “They say jump, and we do nothing but ask how high and when. Especially since they announced the [HFP] shutdown, they’ve been telling us how it’s going to be.

They just run roughshod over everybody in so many ways. These guys are making huge profits and they’re in charge of a public resource.”

The rail line in question is on about 65 acres of land purchased by Posselt about a year ago.

Posselt said his intention was to use the property for a new business venture and he believed the rail line would be an asset.

I bought that property because I wanted rail access but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get it because I was told West Fraser owns it,” he said.

When I investigated it, I discovered there’s no easement on the rail line, so it just belongs to the property owner.

West Fraser did not respond to a request for comment.