Special committee reports on how to boost interior timber supply

If no steps are taken to boost timber supplies in the central interior, a special committee says some 20 mills could close over 20 years.

Special Committee on Timber Supply committe chair John Rustad releases the committee's report in Prince George August 15.

If no steps are taken to mitigate the affects of the mountain pine beetle infestation the equivalent of eight of approximately 24 mills in the central interior may be forced to close within the next 20 years.

The special committee on timber supply, chaired by MLA John Rustad, was formed late in May to design recommendations to temper the damage being done in affected forests, and shared the 22 measures it feels need to be taken Wednesday.

During a press conference later the same day, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson said the ministry will be working very quickly to outline a number of steps and create an action plan to put the recommendations in motion. He expects there will be a timeline charting the steps to be taken moving forward within the next week.

“We’ll have an action plan in response to all the recommendations by September,” Thomson said.

The recommendations include maximizing the value of marginal economic stands, creating an inventory of B.C. forests and looks at the feasibility of rebuilding the sawmill in Burns Lake following the explosion of the mill, the town’s main employer and source of revenue, earlier in the year.

Rustad said that though the future of the Burns Lake mill was not directly within the committee’s mandate, there was some expectation for them to look at the issue.

“We tried to come up with solutions we thought were reasonable,” he said.

Without removing existing timber rights, Rustad said there are one million cubic metres of pine in the Lakes area to support Burns Lake.The Lakes District is the area most affected by the mountain pine beetle infestation.

Rustad added the committee was aware that industry was nervous of any dramatic shifts springing from the recommendations within the report. So far the mountain pine beetle has killed 53 per cent of the pine trees in the affected area.

If left unchecked it could destroy 57 to 70 per cent leading to a reduction of 10 million cubic metres in the annual cut.

However, with hopes of utilizing marginal forest areas combined with innovations within the forest industry and  a look at some of the infected forests while touring the various areas during the consultation process, Rustad remains optimistic.

He said he was happily surprised to note the amount of green, about 25 per cent, left in forests in the Quesnel area.

“It’s encouraging to see how much green is left in those mountain pine beetle infested areas,” he said.

He added though there will be changes within the forest industry, he believes it will remain a staple to B.C.’s economy.

“I am optimistic about the future of the forest industry,” Rustad said.

 

Just Posted

Gitxsan forming cross-sector salmon management team

Nation again declares closure of fishery in territory for 2019

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Motorhome explosion in Houston

A motorhome by the Houston Motor Inn had an explosion Sunday, Dec.… Continue reading

SD54 elects board positions

Trustees also appointed to committees.

Christmas is a comin’

Some of Houston residents are getting the ball rolling for the upcoming… Continue reading

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read