Longtime forestry advocate retires

AFTER NEARLY 40 years advocating for the forest associations in the province, Bill Sauer is retiring from his position

AFTER NEARLY 40 years advocating for the forest associations in the province, Bill Sauer is retiring from his position with the Northwest Loggers Association.

But he will continue his position on the BC Forest Safety Council Board as a provincial liaison between the other three forest associations in the province.

Sauer was hired by the Northwest Loggers Association for a one-year term in 1992 and has been there ever since as manager.

“I enjoy it. I really, really enjoy it, working with the local contractors in forestry,” he said.

One thing he’s been working on is lobbying for an updated Woodworker Lien Act and it’s been 15 years fighting for it.

The act was set up in the 1800s and only revamped once, in the early 1900s, and needs to be changed, he said.

Originally, it enabled woodworkers to go after companies for unpaid wages but since it’s now mostly contractors involved, they are not allowed to go after the companies.

Updating the act would let contractors put a lien on the wood to keep it from leaving and ensure they get paid, he explained.

But the act has faced a lot of opposition from governments of all stripes and contractors wonder why, he said.

“If you do an honest day’s work, you should get an honest day’s pay,” Sauer said.

The association thought the provincial NDP government would be easy to deal with but it didn’t act and the Liberals said they would change the act back in 2000 when they were first elected but still haven’t.

“Nowhere in the province does it affect an area more than here” he said, “because companies go broke.”

Another thing he’s accomplished is getting a logging truck wash set up here in the    1990s.

It generates money for the association and members get the benefit of having clean trucks.

Loggers have found ways to keep going such as working on the transmission main line by clearing the land and salvaging the wood, he said.

“We are a unique area of the province. We’ve always found ways to come up with new and better techniques,” he said.

Sauer began driving a logging truck when he was 19 and bought his own truck four years later.

Then he sold it and went into the insurance investments business so he wouldn’t have to travel away from his family or get up at 3 a.m. anymore. Sauer will be moving down south closer to his grandchildren.