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.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

North Island College launches virtual orientation

New and returning North Island College students are being welcomed to the… Continue reading

Comox Valley artist expands horizons through North Island College’s DIGITAL Design department

Submitted by NIC North Island College alumna Marlee Pestell is breaking into… Continue reading

85-year-old Comox sprinter competes in worldwide virtual track meet

Toronto was slated to be the host city for the 2020 World… Continue reading

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Most Read