Coastal loggers take a break, 1939. (Truck Loggers Association)

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

The Truck Loggers Association celebrates its 75th anniversary in Victoria this week, with coastal logging contractors waiting for the NDP government to put its stamp on forest policy and help a struggling industry.

Premier John Horgan speaks to the convention for the first time Thursday, and members are waiting for word on the provincial review of the viability of logging contractors that was promised by former premier Christy Clark at last year’s convention.

TLA executive director Dave Elstone said he hopes a report by former cabinet minister George Abbott will be ready by the end of January, offering strategies to reverse the fortunes of contractors who have been leaving the logging industry in recent years.

The convention opened Wednesday, featuring a keynote address by Patrick Moore, best known as a co-founder of Greenpeace who quit the organization when he decided it had lost its way. Moore recounted the history of his family company, W.D. Moore Log Co., which shut down last fall after 90 years of operation at Winter Harbour on northern Vancouver Island.

RELATED: How will Winter Harbour survive?

Elstone told Black Press that W.D. Moore is one of about 40 logging contractors to leave the coastal business in recent years. High U.S. lumber prices have the remaining loggers running full tilt, but current conditions for the industry leave them with the narrowest of operating margins, he said.

Loggers cope with unpredictable weather, such as last year’s hard winter followed by a wet spring and dry summer, which affect operations in the coastal forest. And even with the current lumber export duty of more than 20 per cent imposed by the U.S. being covered by the current high price, the industry is vulnerable to any price downturn, Elstone said.

Another policy being closely watched by the TLA is the NDP government’s log export policy. Horgan has criticized timber companies for trucking logs past shut-down sawmills to sell them for export, and even suggested in last year’s election campaign that coastal logs should be shipped to B.C. Interior sawmills.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson speaks to the convention Friday. His mandate letter from Horgan directs him to “develop a fair, lasting strategy to create more jobs by processing more logs in B.C.”

The TLA argues there is sufficient log supply to support both domestic mills and exports, but major timber licence holders are not harvesting their allowable cut. Contractors say lower-quality coastal timber is only economical to harvest if cedar and other export-grade logs come out with it.

A hemlock sawlog that sells domestically for $60 a cubic metre costs as much as $90 or $100 to harvest, and can be sold for up to $120 to the export market, a Vancouver Island producer told the TLA magazine.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Security guard now on patrol at three Terrace banks

Company hired to secure ATM vestibules due to safety concerns

LNG Canada sponsors driver’s license training in Terrace, Kitimat

The $80,000 contribution is part of the company’s commitment to hire locally

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Super snow moon set to rise across B.C.

It is the biggest and brightest moon of the year

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Most Read