Pickup trucks arrived in a steady stream at the Kitsumkalum First Nation’s boat launch across Hwy 16 from the Tempo gas station just west of Terrace on Feb.1 to load up with free wood pellets from Skeena BioEnergy’s pellet plant.
A regional wood pellet shortage caused primarily when the prime domestic manufacturer in Vanderhoof, Vanderhoof Specialty Wood Products, ran into fibre supply problems and extremely cold weather affecting production, has left pellet stove owners from Prince Rupert to Prince George scrambling to find a replacement source.
The pellets being given away today come from a test of a loading system for large containers to then be taken by truck to the port at Prince Rupert for export, says company official Greg DeMille, Skeena Bioenergy’s general manager.
“We had this one container now and decided to have this donation day,” he says. “We’re partnering with the Kitsumkalum Economic Development Group.”
He says the industrial-grade pellets produced by Skeena BioEnergy may produce more ash but are otherwise compatible with pellet stoves.
There was a limit of 200 pounds per household and volunteers were on hand to help.
Those arriving at the boat launch spoke of shortages and, in some cases, price increases of pellets being brought in from outside the region.
The donation day ended at 4 p.m.