Coastal logging activity is down since the B.C. NDP government began implementing its revitalization plan. (Black Press files)

Log export fee reduction aims to revive B.C. coast logging

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson eases wood waste rules

After weeks of urgent pleas that the forest-based economy of northern Vancouver Island and the B.C. coast is suffering irreparable damage, the B.C. government has delayed some of the changes that logging companies say have made timber harvesting too expensive.

Changes include easing new fees on unrecovered wood waste, and delaying a new fee system for exported logs.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has already moved to slash stumpage fees for coastal timber, which were cited by contractors when they suspended logging in recent months. Teal Jones Group reduced its Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island logging in May and shut the rest down in September, cutting off wood supply to two sawmills and a cedar shake mill in Surrey that employ 500 people.

RELATED: 500 losing mill work as Teal Jones suspends logging

RELATED: Aid a priority for laid-off coastal loggers, Horgan says

RELATED: Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Mosaic Forest Management laid off about 2,000 union and non-union employees as well as coastal logging contractors at the end of November, beginning its seasonal shutdown early due to what the company termed “very challenging pricing and market conditions.” Mosaic is a partnership of Island Timberlands and Timberwest, which along with Western Forest Products represents most of the lumber industry on Vancouver Island and the adjacent coast.

Western has been shut down for almost six months by striking United Steelworkers members, forcing logging contractors off the job. Premier John Horgan has promised aid for contractors, who are losing their homes and equipment. Labour Minister Harry Bains has met with both sides as mediated negotiations have dragged on.

The forests ministry issued a statement to Black Press describing the log export changes that are designed to keep more logs in B.C. for milling. The maximum “fee in lieu” has been reduced from 50 per cent of log value to 35 and the imposition on private logging companies has been delayed six months.

“The fee-in-lieu of manufacture has been in place for some time,” the ministry said. “It provides revenue to government in lieu of the economic benefits that are received when logs are manufactured within the province.

“The new, variable fee-in-lieu, which reflects the economics of each stand, was applied to new B.C. Timber Sales licences on the Coast in July. It was originally going to also apply for all new cutting permits on the Coast, starting Dec. 15. Recognizing the many challenges facing the coastal forest industry, while it will still apply to all new B.C. Timber Sales licences on the Coast, its application across all permits has been delayed.”

B.C. Liberal forests critic John Rustad said keeping the higher fees on B.C. Timber Sales blocks means up to half of them are not attracting bids from logging companies.

“People are only operating now in areas where they can make a go of it, in terms of fibre recovery,” Rustad said in an interview.

A new “fibre recovery zone” system that triples fees for usable wood left behind is still in place, but Donaldson said the zones have been reduced based on industry data effective Monday, Dec. 23.

Provincial stumpage fees for cutting coastal Crown land timber are being reduced to $8.82 per cubic metre as of Jan. 1, in the latest quarterly adjustment to reflect the falling price of lumber. Stumpage reached a high of $18.73 in January 2019.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Just Posted

Hospital’s Chief of Staff asks for vigilance

Doctor stresses vigilance and compliance to guidelines to mitigate future surge in COVID-19 cases

Alone together

How local families are coping during COVID-19

Mountain art

Local artist invites you to follow her instructions and create your own mountain painting

Loving in dangerous times

Faith column submitted by local pastor

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

ANKORS East Kootenay details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

Harm reduction providers are having to keep up with rapidly changing situation

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read