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

Four rock supergroups to play Abbotsford Centre this summer

Big Wreck, Headstones, Moist and The Tea Party perform on June 27

VIDEO: California’s Rolling Hills Huskies win Abbotsford’s Snowball Classic

Huskies capture first-ever Snowball crown with 75-69 win over Burnaby South Rebels

Fire breaks out at Mission wharf

Crews extinguished blaze that broke out along Fraser River on Monday

PHOTOS: Spectacular ice formations on Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford

Ice falls photographed during Fraser Valley deep freeze

VIDEO: Abbotsford fire crews battle house fire

Home on Osprey Drive’s roof catches ablaze on Saturday night

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Convicted Fraser Valley con man facing 39 charges in Vancouver area

Donald Quinnell got four years prison in 2015, again facing fraud, theft, stolen credit card charges

Police seize nearly 50 kilos of drugs in Surrey

Police say this has taken perhaps millions of deadly doses of fentanyl and other drugs off the streets

Young child seriously injured in suspected drunk driving crash in Delta

“This needs to stop,” says Insp. Ciaran Feenan, head of the Delta Police Department’s patrol section

Elderly man in serious condition after being hit by bus in Burnaby

RCMP believe man, 82, was not at a crosswalk at the time

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Most Read