Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo speaks to members of industry and media at Canadian Pride Log and Timber Products in Enderby Friday morning. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Okanagan log home builder says more support needed for small timber sector

Peter Sperlich spoke in front of local mayor, MLA and industry heads at his production site Friday

The president of a log home building company in Enderby called for better support of B.C.’s log and timber sector in front of local politicians and industry representatives on Friday.

Peter Sperlich has operated Canadian Pride Log and Timber for 30 years, and in that time the company has produced roughly 350 projects with over 100 sent to Germany and 170 to Japan. His company has no shortage of demand for Canadian-built log homes. The problem he’s facing is a lack of high-quality logs with which to build them.

“Our production schedule is full for nearly a year in advance at this point, (but) I’m running behind because we are having an issue getting some of our wood,” said Sperlich at his production site in Enderby.

Sperlich said the log and timber sector makes up 1,000 of the 33,000 jobs in the B.C. Interior’s forestry industry while consuming just 0.002 per cent of the logs that are harvested.

“That’s one-five-hundredth of a percent of the wood that was harvested in this province in 2018 in the Interior alone, which puts 1,000 people in our industry to work.”

Given the high employment ratio in the added-value timber sector, Sperlich argued that a steadier supply of high quality logs to small companies like his is warranted, and would be a boon for a forestry industry that has taken its fair share of bumps and bruises in recent years.

“Some of the small communities in our province, largely in rural BC, are really struggling,” said Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo who was in attendance at Canadian Pride on Friday. Kyllo mentioned Mackenzie and Vavenby as communities that have been particularly affected by industry struggles of late.

“I think we’ve all realized that the logs that are actually utilized in the log home building industry provide a lot more jobs than a log that gets processed and cut down into two-by-fours,” Kyllo said.

READ MORE: Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

READ MORE: Shuswap projects left with uncertain future after rural dividend funding suspended

“I think it’s important that governments do what they can to try and ensure that value-added businesses like your are getting the products they require in order for you to continue being successful and support small communities,” Kyllo added.

Sam Zirnhelt of Zirnhelt Timber Frames was also present and likewise advocated for a change in how the industry provides logs to smaller businesses.

“What this all comes down to for us – from my perspective and I think from our whole industry – is we need to look at rebalancing the tenure system,” Zirnhelt said, referring to the assortment of laws, regulations and contractual agreements that constrain a person or company’s right to harvest timber in B.C.

Zirnhelt said that changes to the tenure system don’t need to come at the expense of major licensees in the industry.

“They’re actually going to get the same amount of wood, it’s just that there would be enough leverage for wood to be traded to go to the right place.”

Having a more consistent supply of high-quality logs would make businesses like Zirnhelt’s more ready to invest in job-producing projects.

“It just (takes) a bit of confidence, and that starts with knowing where your logs come from, and knowing that they’re going to keep coming.”

Enderby Mayor Greg McCune and Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper were also in attendance and spoke in support of Sperlich’s concerns. Splatsin Band Chief Wayne Christian was there to bless the congregation and also spoke of the need for collaboration within the industry.

“I think collectively we need to really think about a strategy for B.C. timber sales,” Christian said. If you lose employment it has a real impact in local communities. I do hope that we can come to some meeting of the minds.”


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

forestry

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

Haze over Okanagan and Shuswap skies may have drifted from Siberia

Few active wildifres so far this summer in B.C.

Guerrilla Gigs replacing Streetfest this summer in Revelstoke

Buy one of 30 tickets the Sunday before the Wednesday show

UPDATE: Trans-Canada Highway open to single-lane traffic west of Revelstoke due to flooding

The highway between Revelstoke and Golden is also open again

Mt. Revelstoke summit and back country closed to dogs permanently

Dogs allowed on-leash only in some other areas

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Okanagan Realtors donate big to North Westside fire department

Two Kelowna-area Realtors made a generous donation to the North Westside Fire… Continue reading

SilverStar security recovers stolen bike

Reminders to residents to keep bicycles locked up, eyes open for suspicious activity

‘Justice for Mona’ protests planned in Kelowna, Lower Mainland

Security camera footage shows Mona Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check

Orphaned Okanagan beavers admitted to rehab centre

The two beavers are in the care of the Fawcett Family Wildlife Health Centre

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s Okanagan murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

Kelowna neighbourhood pond dries up again

The RDCO filled up the pond on Hall Road but it’s drying up again

Penticton RCMP seek help locating missing woman

25-year-old Iesha Blomquist was reported missing to Penticton RCMP on June 30

Most Read