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October 27, 2017 6:31 pm

Standing Up for Forestry

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 @ 5:59 AM

Ben Parfitt-Resource Analyst with Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives addresses  forum – photo 250News

Prince George, B.C. –  About 60 people were on hand at the College of New Caledonia  in Prince George last night for the first in a series of  public forums on forestry.

Organized by the Stand Up for the North Committee,  the forums  focus  is on the challenges  for  forestry.  With  the annual allowable cut expected to be  reduced significantly and the pending duties as a result of the  action launched by the United States , there are serious concerns about  the impacts on mills, forestry workers and their communities.

Stand Up for the North  spokesperson Peter Ewart  asked if forest policy in B.C. is “petrified”.  Ewart is a supporter of the appurtenancy policy  which required Forest License holders to process wood in the area where it was harvested.

That policy was eliminated in 2003, “Since then dozens of mills have closed, logs shipped out”  said Ewart.     He also pointed to the profits being made off B.C.  forests,   only to have those  companies use the profits to  buy American operations.  He labelled that  move as the ‘Lemon squeeze’ where the juice is  squeezed out of B.C. only to make lemonade somewhere else “often with the latest technology.”

“One thing is clear” said Ewart, “We need a new direction for the economy”.  He said there is a movement underway,  one of people and communities who want more say in  economic decisions.  He says this  is not a left versus right issue,   it’s an issue of empowerment.

Ben Parfitt, Resource Analyst with the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives  put forth a ten point plan  to  revive  forestry. First and foremost, he calls for a  review of logging rates in the province and to set those rates  that will ensure sustainability.  He also called for a full comprehensive review on where fibre from this province is  coming from and moving to.  He also calls for an opportunity for communities that  are forestry dependent, to have more say in the development of forestry policy including the benefits of forests for recreation.

Parfitt called for an immediate ban  on raw log exports from  old growth  forests  and that the Province be pressed to  come up with incentives  to increase  value added  manufacturing.

He says there should also be a competition review,  as in the Interior,  he says three companies  control 61% of all  logs that are made into lumber.

The Prince George session was one of several to be held in the region,  with the next session set for this evening in Mackenzie at 7 pm at the Mackenzie recreation Centre.



Better start having more discussions on our forest and people should start paying attention, we lost over 3000 forest jobs in this region already.

    In 1990 the labour to run a block was more intensive, you had buckers, fallers, line skidders, 966 loaders, on top of landing and road making equipment. Now you have a a feller buncher, grapple skidder, processor and a butt n’ top loader all done at roadside with no more landings. A 20 man show down to 4 guys with productivity easily doubled.

    Same as the oil patch, CBC program on return of the oil patch with higher per barrel prices but less labour needed as they have mechanized operations to the point they don’t need to hire new people. A 30 man crew 5 years ago reduced to between 5 and 10.

    How many were due to automation and how many were due to the MPB. In fact, how many increases, if any, during the height of harvesting MPB stands were harvested first wherever possible.

    With that being the likely scenario for the next 4 decades or so, as we have already seen from Quesnel, is it any wonder that some companies have decided to aquire wood manufacturing facilities in the US? It is, after all, what most of us would do if the source of our local employment sources diminish.

WHERE was Zimmer and Mike Morris??? Forestry not important in their riding???

    Not so much in Zimmer’s. He has other industrial problems to deal with.

    Kudos to Bobby Deepak for showing up.

    House is in session

      1 hour 40 minute flight

      Oh I see Bobby Deepak took the flight … oh wait, I have him confused with someone elected to the upper chambers

On the cost they are selling old growth trees for an average of $5-10,000 per tree, and only taking the main stand leaving the tops for slash burning. These tops alone would run a small mill, but they make to much from the rest of the tree so why bother. I have even heard of some trees going for as high as $80,000 for a single tree.

Problem is none of this money goes to the province and very little to local industry. Most is logged from ‘private’ land and enriches those that are making a fortune off our old growth forests. They target the biggest and the best and leave huge amounts of waste in their wake.

    On the coast there were also specialty mills constructed to process some of those large, expensive, old-growth trees. They were labor intensive plants, attempting to utilise all this very valuable wood. Two of them, totally modern plants despite the large workforces they required, (which weren’t unionised workers either, by the way, and paid well, but still below union scale), folded within a few years. Both were revived under different ownership, only to fold again. It is exceedingly difficult through any process of ‘separation’, which cutting trees into lumber is, to value add something already valuable. Value adding is seldom ever defined by those who endlessly preach its virtues. Almost exclusively those who have never gotten their hands dirty trying to actually do any of it themselves. Properly, it is “any further process beyond the initial stages of any products manufacture that can return its costs plus an additional profit.” If it can’t do that, it’s not ‘value’ added. But it will most certainly be COST added. A cost that can’t be fully recovered in price.

    From the private forest landowners association at pfla.bc.ca/log-export/6-basic-facts-everyone-should-know-about-bcs-log-exports, comes the following information:

    1. Log exports are essential to private forestry.

    Without access to log export markets, none of the 3,000-plus people directly employed in the stewardship of BC’s coastal private managed forest land would be working today.

    2. A surplus of timber is available to sawmills, pulp mills and value-added manufacturers on the BC coast.

    We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: there is no log shortage. In fact, there’s a surplus of logs. Here’s the math:
    • Timber available for harvest and processing = 24 million cubic meters
    • Domestic processing capacity = 16 million cubic meters
    • The difference = 8 million cubic meters of surplus logs

    3. Domestic sawmills need to take responsibility for their own “supply” problems.

    There are plenty of logs available on the BC coast. If domestic sawmills want to ensure an adequate supply of logs, there are a number of ways to do it:
    • Offer competitive log prices.
    • Fully harvest public land timber quotas.
    • Buy logs on the open market from First Nations, market loggers, community forests, woodlot licences and BC Timber Sales (BCTS) operators.
    • Bid directly for timber available through BCTS timber sales.

    4. Log prices are the issue, not log shortages.

    BC has the world’s lowest log prices. Domestic sawmills offer prices lower than production costs. The result: No incentive to produce and sell logs to domestic sawmills. Here’s some more math:
    • Cost per cubic meter to produce a log from coastal public lands = $78
    • Typical log price offered (Teal Jones) = $60
    • Recent low-ball log price offer = $43
    • Average price of the same logs sold to export customers = $90
    • 5. Log exports are NOT the cause of mill closures and job losses.
    • In fact, without log exports domestic mills wouldn’t have any timber at all. There would be no forest stewardship and no log production. The ability to sell some logs at a premium (log exports) is the only reason it’s economically viable to sell other logs, at artificially low prices, to domestic mills. Jobs, economic activity, crown land stumpage and tax revenues all grind to a halt without log exports.

    Is this conference only viewing one side of the situation?

      What is #6?

      I provided the link. Wanted to let the curious do some of the work. :-)

      The comments on that 5 year old article are interesting.

Stand Up For The North does some very good advocating on some serious issues facing Northern BC. Kudos to them for raising awareness and generating discussion around our failing forest industry!

    They would benefit greatly if they changed their name to something less amateurish.

      True. Is there a Stand up for the Coast organization.

      In this age in world political development, would the two organizations be going to battle?

    Yet we constantly complain about people living south of Hope, BC not knowing or caring about what goes on in the rest of the province. We are constantly complaining about how little investment we get compared to the lower mainland.

    Case in point; “Over the past couple of weeks, the Province has announced major funding for new surgical suites in the lower mainland, and dollars to increase the number of surgeries in that part of B.C.”

    “Surgeons in Prince George complain they are not getting the surgery times they are supposed to get, and that the current surgical suites at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. are in dire need of updating.”

    Maybe the next Stand Up For The North Committee topic should be “Stand Up For Our Health Care”?

      Stick to the “guidelines of the site” please

      What? And expect BeingHuman to stop their copy and paste campaign and have an original thought?

For anyone not understanding log exports this is a good read, explains the differences between federal and provincial log exports from BC as well as why the price per m3 is more for whole log shipped than to domestic mills. Also has some charts and graphs for visualization.

ht tps://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/log-export-policy-for-british-columbia.pdf

Name is not important as the message

    Right, the medium is important as a wise man told us at one time and made a living from that. ;-)

    Meanwhile the following description, for most all of the Fraser Institute’s “studies” and “reports”, remains valid!

    ht tps://twitter.com/lhubich/status/519690462639058944

      Larry Hubich is a fed of labour NDP sympathizer, you expect any different? Much like our own BC fed of labour.

      Doesn’t mean it is wrong

      ht tp://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/competitive-forest-industry/log-exports/step-3-federal-permit

      Here you go 41.9 percent of all whole log exports were “federal jurisdiction”

      ht tp://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/forestry/log-exports/bc_log_export_permit_report_2011_2015.pdf

      Ask and ye shall receive, easier just to read the Fraser Institutes summary

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