Every container stuffed with lumber and each bulk shipment of wood pellets that is exported through the Port of Prince Rupert represents the demanding work and commitment of B.C.’s natural resource and gateway services industries. Those sectors make-up two-thirds of the province’s economic base, according to the Business Council of British Columbia. Their workforces rely on one another to support their local communities and families by working together to get in-demand B.C. exports to destinations all over the world.
An estimated one in every 25 people in B.C. is employed in the forestry sector, and it is a workforce Jessica Hochins is proud to be a part of. As the Woodlands Operations Supervisor at Skeena Sawmills, Hochins’ many responsibilities include coordinating logging and road building operations in her company’s tenures in the area.
“I love getting to be outside and work directly with contractors to get them on board with sustainable practices and best management practices to protect soil, wildlife and other parts of the environment,” said Hochins.
Hochins is adamant that “sustainable forestry is the way of the future,” and having Canada’s third largest Port only 135 kilometres from operations in Terrace means most products they export do not travel far to be stuffed into containers and loaded onto ships. Overall, western Canadian lumber and wood products make up 20 per cent of the containerized exports through the Port. Hochins hopes to see that figure continue to grow, noting “it will make our business stronger.”
Like Hochins, Adelynne Davis also plays a role in preparing northwest B.C. wood products for export. In the two years since she started at Skeena BioEnergy she has seen the demand for wood pellets take off. “It’s amazing to watch,” Davis said. “I got here not long after we first opened, so I’ve been watching it grow and change.”
Davis has lived in the Terrace area for nearly a decade and a half, and prior to accepting this position, she had been working in big-box retail. “I’ve never worked in a job like this before,” Davis said. “Doing utility work in the big pellet mills and cleaning them out, operating a scissor lift and forklift. It’s been great to learn and contribute to this industry.”
Working at Skeena BioEnergy is a family affair for Davis. The mother of four, who is originally from New Aiyansh, calls several relatives coworkers with her husband, niece and eldest son also employed at the facility. The family members are among the more than 5,300 Indigenous people working in B.C.’s forestry sector, according to the BC Council of Forest Industries.
Find out more about how natural resource sector jobs, like Jessica and Adelynne’s are connected to the 3,700 people across Northern B.C., working directly to support trade through the Prince Rupert Gateway at www.rupertport.com/economic-impact/