B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson and North Island MLA Claire Trevena speak to out-of-work loggers, Port Hardy, Dec. 19, 2019. (Youtube/Island Voice TV)

B.C. delays wood waste penalties in coastal forest industry crisis

Coastal stumpage fees to be slashed as strike, layoffs drag on

The B.C. government is backing off from some of its coastal forest industry reforms as Vancouver Island and coastal logging has ground to a halt due to high costs and a six-month strike against Western Forest Products.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has announced that the NDP government’s plan to increase coastal log export charges is being delayed for six months, and new rules to require removal of waste wood from logging sites are also being eased.

Provincial stumpage fees on timber from Crown land are also being substantially cut, and the formula changed to make logging more viable, Donaldson told a meeting of unemployed industry contractors in Port Hardy on Thursday.

“We’re revisiting and revising the stumpage system on the coast, and as of Jan. 1 it will be a lumber-based system primarily, versus a log price system,” Donaldson said. “That means that the average stumpage rate on the coast will be $8.82 cents [per cubic metre] versus $18.73 now.

“We’re able to do that because it’s an annual review process and we want to make sure that the factors that go into stumpage are the same as they are in the Interior, so it won’t be in any way seen as a political intervention in the softwood lumber dispute. But it will make an impact, and we’ve heard that from you and others.”

RELATED: B.C. to begin increasing coastal log export charges

RELATED: Cutting B.C. wood waste results in some bleeding

Donaldson and North Island MLA Claire Trevena have faced demands by forest contractors and workers to do something about the United Steelworkers strike against Western, and to offer assistance to contractors who have no say in the labour dispute, can’t work and don’t qualify for Employment Insurance. Community leaders in North Island communities have pleaded with Premier John Horgan that homes are being sold, trucks repossessed and food banks overwhelmed.

Trevena opened the meeting by pleading for patience. (See video below.)

“There is no magic wand,” she said. “We’re not going to be able to fix everything at once.”

Donaldson said the new penalties for leaving usable wood waste behind are being updated.

“We’re revising the fibre recovery zone boundaries, based on cost data that we finally received from industry on where those boundaries should be more refined,” Donaldson said. “We do want to see more residuals brought out of the forest but we understand we have to refine the boundaries of those areas so they make economic sense.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

VIDEO: Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens play to the crowd in Nelson

The charity game was a spectacle from puck drop

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

RCMP still investigating body found between Nelson, Castlegar

Halimi’s body was found between Nelson and Castlegar in May 2018

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Most Read