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

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

Just Posted

Local Food Initiative wants public feedback for possible Garden Tour

Survey suggests some people are concerned about the RCMP, after last year’s tour

MP Morrison pushes for accountability following federal fiscal update

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian says it is time to restart the economy

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

Updated: Revelstoke RCMP searching Columbia River for possible body

Three boats and a helicopter searched the river and the shoreline in the area

Revelstoke Save-On-Foods compaign raised almost $2,000 for food bank

The grocery chain raised $300,000 for food banks across western Canada

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer displays COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Horoscopes for the week of July 13

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

Most Read