Red ink and red flags for B.C. forestry

The Aboriginal Resource Network will soon release a two-part documentary focusing on forestry, an industry impacted by new regulations and economic hardship.

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Now on our must-see list are two special videos from the Aboriginal Resource Network (IRN)— “A two-part documentary focusing on the unique stories of Aboriginal forestry workers.”

The first part is published on IRN Youtube Channel on Thursday 9 May.

The first part takes place in Squamish, British Columbia, where forestry played a major role in the creation of the town of Squamish. Follow the story of Roger Lewis of Squamish Country and learn how forestry has uniquely impacted his family.

IRN promises: “Roger’s passion for land stewardship and responsible development shines through in his interviews.”

Lewis has been logging for 25 years and is the company’s director of special projects. Nch’Kay’ Development Company, the economic sector of the Squamish Nation. In response, he said: “We hope to expand and eventually… upgrade more equipment, more training, more experienced workers… and be able to do all the work in-house.

The BC government is committed to implementing a policy that encourages and promotes greater Indigenous participation in the industry and creates more Indigenous partnerships. We applaud this and some progress has been made.

We hope the IRN video tells us more.

Because, sadly, this policy has become another uncertain factor affecting the industry.

There is still oneAt this point, the outlook for B.C.’s forestry sector is filled with red ink and red flags.

Teal Jones, the largest private forestry company on the West Coast, Employing approximately 1,000 employees, yes fighting bankruptcy and has applied for creditor protection.

It cited low lumber prices, inflationary pressures and rapidly rising interest rates as reasons. Others have also noted an increase in government “stumpage” fees for their logs.

Teal Jones It further noted that the company “underwent a costly and lengthy argument for its forest license at the logging site,” which cost the company $40 million.

as business in vancouver “This is likely a reference to the Fairy Creek anti-logging protests on Vancouver Island between 2020 and 2022,” the report said. “Teal Jones’ Forestry Permit 46 was one of the areas targeted by the protesters.”

Have the protesters considered their potential impact on Forest Company employees and their families? (As Squamish Nation citizen Roger Lewis said in an article older video: “Activists do not speak for Aboriginal people.”)

at the same time, another report established Timber production in British Columbia was “substantially down 26.5 per cent” for much of 2023, with demand shrinking as rising interest rates reduced demand for new housing.

Released by the British Columbia Forestry Industry Council a report April showcased “Forestry is the foundation of British Columbia.”

Key findings:

  • There are approximately 100,000 jobs in the province, more than a quarter (26,000) of which are in the Lower Mainland and Southwest.
  • $17.4 billion in value-added activities (gross domestic product or GDP), of which $5.5 billion comes from forestry, logging and support activities; $8.3 billion comes from wood products manufacturing; $3.6 billion comes from pulp and paper manufacturing.
  • Labor income was approximately $9.1 billion, including wages and salaries and employers’ social contributions, such as pension plan contributions.
  • Government revenue is $6.6 billion, of which $4 billion goes to the provincial government, $2.3 billion goes to the federal government, and $325 million goes to the municipal government.
  • In addition, BC’s forestry sector invested approximately $15.8 billion in capital expenditures, repairs and maintenance between 2013 and 2022.

But the industry also pointing how”Key indicators for the forestry industry are flashing red, not the least of which is the current severe shortage of lumber for B.C. mills.

“Over the past five years, harvests from public forest lands have dropped by almost half, from approximately 60 million cubic meters in 2018 to 35 million cubic meters in 2023. Actual harvests in 2023 were 42% lower than the permitted annual harvest %, which is 18% lower than the permitted annual harvest.

“This steep trajectory has triggered a wave of cutbacks and closures, closing local sawmills as well as the pulp and paper and value-added plants that rely on their output and residuals, resulting in the loss of an estimated 4,500 direct jobs over the past two years. Year.

British Columbia has been banning or delaying a significant amount of logging in old-growth forests, impacting the industry. The province has been pushing for more “value-added forestry” — more “A high-value product line that makes the most of every harvested tree.

But this has been painfully slow progress at best. If less timber is harvested, does that mean greater challenges for value-added forestry?

B.C. has also been pushing for more use of bulk wood productsand recently put $70.3 million 50 projects “Creating more sustainable jobs for every tree cut down.”

Governor David Eby said at the industry’s annual conference in April The Province is committed to supporting the forestry industry and recognizes that this requires a stable policy environment.

However, COFI Chairperson Linda Coady earlier pointed out that “cDelays in the current regulatory decision-making process could extend the development and approval time for sustainable logging by two years or more.

This is just one area where the government can improve its work and help build this goal. The policy environment remains stable.

The current policy environment is anything but stable and unclear.

Now it’s your turn, Governor Ibe and Forest Minister Bruce Ralston. These 100,000 jobs are at stake.

Published on May 1, 2024

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