Salvage loggers left out of timber supply talks: MFSS

A dozen salvage loggers say they have been overlooked by Houston council and Nadina Forest District in talks on local timber licences.

Small-scale salvage loggers say they have been overlooked by Houston council and Nadina Forest District staff in discussions how to divvy up local timber licences.

Loggers with the Morice Forest Salvage Society packed the benches at Houston’s municipal hall on Jan. 3 to make their case.

Speaking for the MFSS, forester Dave Mayer told councillors that salvage loggers have a long tradition and a key role in the Morice area.

“This is the type of operation that was really the guts and soul of Houston 25 years ago,” Mayer said. “This was the root of the community: a small business, two or three or four employees per company. And they fit a role in the forest service, to a large degree tackling the sales that nobody else wants.”

Since 2003, Mayer explained that the twelve active members of the MFSS have mostly operated using Forest Licences to Cut—one-time cuts of no more than 2,000 cubic metres of timber on land where most trees are infested by pine beetles.

Mayer asked council to amend their December letter to staff at the Nadina Forest District so that it recommends more stable type of forest licence that the MFSS could bid on—a Non-Replaceable Forest Licence.

Mayor Bill Holmberg said council will support the MFSS loggers.

“When this was brought to council, you’re right, you guys were not even on the drawing board,” he said.

Councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld, a forestry graduate who led the Dec. 6 council meeting on the Morice timber supply, said the type of licence the MFSS is seeking was not considered because those licences usually open up an area to outside competition.

“That was one of the things that concerned us—that non-replaceable forest licences were an avenue for people outside the timber supply area to grab wood,” said Van Barneveld.

Mayer raised that same concern. Although there are no guaruntees, Mayer said the MFSS hopes to get a small licence that is geared to loggers who live here.

“We would have to bid on it, like everybody else out there,” Mayer said. “It would be nice if they could give us the licence, but in today’s world they won’t do that.”

Earlier on Jan. 3, Mayer asked staff at the Nadina Forest District to consider a non-replaceable licence for 50,000 cubic metres of timber that the MFSS could bid on.

Since forming in 2003, the MFSS has harvested between 20,000 and 40,000 cubic metres.

Mayor Holmberg asked if the salvage loggers can already bid on timber auctions held by BC Timber Sales—a government agency designed to give smaller contractors a chance to get win timber contracts.

Of the 2.1 million cubic metres of timber that companies can cut each year in the Morice timber supply area, 78 per cent goes to Canfor and Houston Forest Products. BCTS handles a further 20 per cent.

Steven Wright, a salvage logger and president of the MFSS, told council that most MFSS members get priced out of the BC Timber Sales.

“Yes we can bid on those sales, but they generally go to the big contractors,” Wright said, adding that one auction up that day totalled $450,000 with a $350,000 deposit.

“Those aren’t the types of sales that the folks you see here can even begin to qualify to bid on,” he said.

In closing, Wright noted that the salvage society hits well above its weight when it comes to giving back to the community.

“Because we’re so small, we don’t buy many products outside the town,” he said.

With every cubic metre cut, MFSS members also donate 25 cents to community groups, he said.

In 2010, he said, the MFSS donated just under $4200 to the Houston Quad Runners, the Houston Library and the Houston Hikers Society.

 

Just Posted

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

Burns Lake golfers to help end world hunger

Burns Lake residents will bring together charity and golf at the Grip… Continue reading

Houston area ski club proposes new community forest

Morice Mountain has ‘huge untapped potential’

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Most Read