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.

Just Posted

The Northern View Cannery Road Race: Photos and video

The Northern View’s 2019 Cannery Road Race draws hundreds of runners from Prince Rupert to Terrace

MVP of the Week: Runner ready for his biggest challenge yet

Martin Schouw has found new meaning in life thanks to running, and now hopes to use it to give back

Rupert sees its runners bolt to top times at The Northern View Cannery Road Race

Richard Elkington wins half-marathon, while Katie Beach takes top mark in women’s 5K

Prince Rupert Sea Cadets sail with Royal Canadian Navy

Duo spent days aboard the HMCS Calgary gaining valuable seafaring experience

Prince Rupert not alone in fight to save ferry to Ketchikan: Alaskan Rep. Ortiz

MLA Jennifer Rice weighs in saying ferry closure to impact all North Coast

Heart of Our City: Giving back to their street friends one meal at a time

Karlene Campbell and Marvin Spencer feed the homeless every Sunday

‘This is where the movement is going to start’: Jessica Patrick remembered at memorial march

The march commemorates the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old’s unsolved death

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Most Read