Region Archives: Canada West

Business & Politics

Silvacom’s Streak Continues: Named One of Alberta’s Top Employers for Eighth Year!

By Lindsay Penny
Silvacom Ltd.
January 30, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON, AB – In a significant accolade, Silvacom Ltd. (Silvacom) has been recognized as one of Alberta’s Top 80 Employers for the eighth consecutive year through the esteemed annual competition organized by Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This award recognizes the Alberta employers who lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. …”We are honoured to accept this award for the eighth consecutive year, a testament to the unwavering dedication and hard work of our exceptional team,” says Tom Grabowski, President and CEO of the Silvacom Group. “Looking ahead, we remain steadfast in our promise to prioritize our employees, ensuring their well-being and fostering a positive, rewarding work environment. Together, we will continue to elevate our workplace for years to come.”

Read More

Canada’s second TC (cross circulation)-continuous kiln is now in operation

By Dakota Smith
Woodworkding Network
February 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

SWAN RIVER, Manitoba — Spruce Products Limited (SPL), a manufacturer of lumber and wood products for the construction industry and the integrated wood products industry, recently loaded their first lumber packages into a new kiln from Swedish Valutec. …This kind of kiln provides full freedom to create the ultimate drying process with the virtually unlimited freedom to mix dimensions, minimal moisture content variation and reduced risk of checking. Annual capacity can reach 170,000 m3 (75 mmbf), with target moisture contents down to around 12–18%. The principle is based on the timber package being fed length-wise through zones in which the air circulates laterally across the drying channel. This enables the separate regulation of the climate in different zones according to a schedule that comes very close to the ideal schedule of a batch kiln.

Read More

MNP is proud to once again be the title sponsor of the 2024 Gran Fondo Jasper.

MNP
February 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

On June 8, 2024, the Gran Fondo Jasper will bring people together in the spirit of community and healthy competition while enabling them to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of our national parks. Better yet, this event supports the Jasper Yellowhead Historical Society, which is dedicated to studying and preserving the rich history of Alberta and Canada, especially Jasper and its surroundings. Since its inception in 2014, the Gran Fondo Jasper stands out as Canada’s only cycling fondo hosted within a national park. With five diverse cycling options in terms of length and difficulty, the event caters to participants of all ages and skill levels, ensuring an exceptional experience for everyone.

Read More

Forest Professionals BC Honours Outstanding Forest Professionals with 2023 Awards

Forest Professionals of British Columbia
February 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver — Forest Professionals British Columbia (FPBC) recognized eight professional foresters for their outstanding contributions to the forestry profession last year at its 76th annual conference in Kelowna, February 7-9, 2024. “These awards recognize the dedication, expertise and achievements of forest professionals over the course of a career,” said Kelly Kitsch, FPBC board chair. “Their achievements serve as an inspiration to all forest professionals who work diligently and passionately every day to ensure BC’s forests are sustainably managed for future generations.” Kevin Horsnell, MBA, RPF, of Prince George, Laurie Kremsater, MSc, RPF, RPBio, of Abbotsford, and Jeff McWilliams, RPF, of North Vancouver were all given the Distinguished Forest Professional award. The Distinguished Forest Professional is FPBC’s highest award, given to professional foresters who over the course of their career have made outstanding contributions to the practice of forestry. Barry Snowdon, RPF, of Victoria, is the 2023 Professional Forester of the Year. The award recognizes a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) for outstanding recent service to the forestry profession and for furthering FPBC’s principles.

Read More

Town of Hinton signs partnership with Mondi after purchase of West Fraser pulp mill

By Scott Hayes
Lakeland Today
February 13, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

HINTON, Alberta — Months of collaborative discussions have resulted in a new strategic partnership between the Town of Hinton and the company that recently completed its purchase of the Hinton pulp mill from West Fraser. Completion of the sale to Mondi took place on Feb. 3. The long-term partnership focuses on the future of the treatment and distribution of the town’s utility systems. Chief administrative officer Jordan Panasiuk explained that the town operates its water treatment plant located on the mill’s property. This means that the mill itself owns a piece of the process. “There was a direction to move towards our own water treatment plant standalone in 2007. We have not done that so far.” Now it has made a 20-year agreement to continue with Mondi, giving the town time to make that move. …Mondi intends to invest in the mill to improve its productivity and sustainability performance. 

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

Capacity and scale questions greet new BC Builds program

By Wolf Depner
Pentiction Western News
February 14, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Reactions to BC Builds, government’s long-awaited program to build more rental housing for middle-income British Columbians, vary. Broadly, BC Builds sees government team up with non-profits, local governments, public agencies, First Nations and community groups to identify underused land. From there, funding and financing will support the construction of housing targeted to those who have a household income between roughly $84,000 and $190,000, subject to one-time income-testing. BC Builds projects in partnership with non-profits and First Nations must include at least 20 per cent of units renting at 20 per cent below market. Counting all existing and contemplated BC Builds projects, some more than 4,000 units could become available by 2026. …BC United’s Karin Kirkpatrick also wondered if municipalities and construction companies have the capacity to deliver what BC Builds promises.

Additional coverage in Storeys, by Howard Chai: BC Gov Unveils Long-Awaited BC Builds Initiative And First 3 Projects

Government of British Columbia press release: BC Builds will deliver more lower-cost, middle-income rental homes faster

Read More

Forestry

Mayors of Hudson’s Hope and Tumbler Ridge express concern over the relocation of wildfire crews

CJDC TV
February 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

CHETWYND — The mayors of Hudson’s Hope and Tumbler Ridge are expressing concern over the relocation of the Northern Initial Fire Attack Crew from Chetwynd to Dawson Creek, saying it could double response times in the community and surrounding districts. In letters addressed to B.C.’s Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston, both Hudson’s Hope and Tumbler Ridge condemned the move that they say was made without consultation with stakeholders and local First Nations communities. The mayor of Hudson’s Hope Travous Quibell said the move to not consulate the districts is a breach of the Emergency and Disaster Management Act. “This requirement doesn’t seem to apply to the Ministry,” said Quibell in his letter. Quibell says that the relocation will delay response times from approximately one to two and half hours, and will not only impact or displace residents, but could cost millions to local businesses.

Read More

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District to allow motorized vehicles on major trail Alberni Valley News

By Elena Rardon
Alberni Valley News
February 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Part of the Log Train Trail in the Alberni Valley will soon be open to motorized vehicles, but the City of Port Alberni wants to make sure their portion of the trail is for bikers and hikers only. The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) board voted last month to adopt a new management plan for the Log Train Trail, which will allow the use of motorized vehicles (including ATVs and dirt bikes) on the regional district-managed portion of the trail. The full trail stretches 25 kilometres along the foot of the Beaufort Range. It was originally part of railroad logging operations until logging trucks became the preferred method of transport and the railway was abandoned. Since then, it has been developed into a multipurpose trail and regional park. …Council is sending a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Mosaic Forest Management stating that the city does not support motorized vehicles on the Log Train Trail.

Read More

Research Program Annual Report now available from BC Ministry of Forests

Ministry of Forests
Government of British Columbia
February 19, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In 2022–2023, the Ministry of Forests Research Program produced scientific knowledge to help operations, decision makers, and the public at large. This year, the Research Program underwent a series of transitions; however, the program remains well placed to support the successful management of British Columbia’s natural resources. The program offers expert scientific information on multiple values: biodiversity, climate, carbon sequestration, ecology, ecosystem services, forest health, species habitat including endangered or protected species, soils, and watersheds. The Research Program funded 139 projects, with another 34 collaborative projects funded externally. Program researchers investigated climate change, forest health, wildfires, and drought, to name a few key topics. The Research Program is guided by its Strategic Plan 2021–2024, which defines its vision, values, governance, and strategic goals. On an annual basis, the program’s research priorities are updated with input from key stakeholders .

Read More

B.C. is seeing a record number of ‘zombie fires’. What does this mean?

By Amy Judd and Cassidy Mosconi
Global News
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C.’s worst-ever wildfire season in 2023 appears to have carried over into 2024. The mild and dry fall and winter have created perfect conditions for a record number of so-called “zombie fires.” …John Davies, a senior wildfire management specialist with Forsite Consultants, said they are seeing a lot of these fires in northern B.C …“They have a very, very deep organic layer. That’s what makes it possible for these fires to burn underground is that they have lots of fuel, so this decomposing vegetative matter, and they have oxygen, and so they just burn subsurface.” …Dr. Lori Daniels, a professor and Koerner Chair in Wildlife Coexistence with the Faculty of Forestry at UBC said… “There’s a gap between when the snow melts and when the broadleaf trees produce their leaves and create shade and cooler temperatures in more humid conditions,” she said.

Read More

Warm and dry weather prompts Alberta to declare an early start to wildfire season

The Canadian Press in the Calgary Herald
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON — The Alberta government has declared an early start to the 2024 wildfire season in the face of low snowpacks and forecasts of dry weather to come. Alberta Forestry and Parks Minister Todd Loewen said Tuesday the season is now underway — 10 days earlier than the usual start of March 1. Loewen said his department is asking for enough extra funding in the budget to hire an extra 100 firefighters. If that request is approved, they will be in the field by May 15, he said. That’s in addition to the 900 firefighters the province fielded in 2023, who are expected to be ready by April 15, said Loewen. …Loewen also said a permit is now required for any burning in the forest protection area. Fire bans are likely to follow. “We’re going to be more proactive (on fire bans) than we were last year.

Read More

Alberta’s Brutal Water Reckoning

By Andrew Nikiforuk
The Tyee
February 19, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberta’s water reckoning has begun in earnest. Snowpack accumulations in the Oldman River basin, the Bow River basin and the North Saskatchewan River basin range from 33 to 62 per cent below normal. A reduced snowpack means less summer water for the fish and all water drinkers. …Fifty-one river basins from Milk River to Hay River report critical water shortages due to low rainfall and high temperatures. Groundwater levels in parts of Alberta have reached record lows. Wells in Rocky View County just outside of Calgary, for example, show steady declines and the lowest levels ever measured. Some 600,000 rural Albertans depend on groundwater. …With less water in the rivers and ground, the cottonwoods and willows that decorate the banks of prairie rivers are dying. …Yet the Alberta government has not declared an emergency. It says it is planning for extreme drought but hoping for snow and rain.

Read More

Fungi a factor in the fight against mountain pine beetles, University of Alberta research finds

By Natalia Gala
The Gateway, University of Alberta Student News
February 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

High populations of mountain pine beetles can overwhelm forests by killing trees and altering ecosystems. A University of Alberta study examined the role fungi may play in how trees defend themselves from these beetles. Rashaduz Zaman, a U of A PhD candidate in forest biology and management, led the study. According to the study, the fungus atropellis canker increases a tree’s production of compounds toxic to mountain pine beetles, thereby protecting the tree. The researchers collected inner-bark samples from lodgepole pines. Some of these trees were infected by western gall rust, atropellis canker, or other fungi pathogens. The researchers compared how different fungal species altered the chemistry of lodgepole pine trees and their ability to resist attacks from insects.

Read More

Alberta plans to hire 100 more firefighting staff but questions remain about readiness

By Michelle Bellefontaine
CBC News
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Todd Loewen & Christie Tucker

The Alberta government will hire an additional 100 firefighters to work this season but the opposition is concerned this won’t be enough in a year that could be worse for fire than 2023. Forestry and Parks Minister Todd Loewen announced the new staffing measures on Tuesday in a news conference at the Whitecourt fire base. “We are confident we are ready to tackle the upcoming wildfire season head on to better direct our resources to fight new and existing wildfires,” Loewen said. “We are declaring an early start to the 2024 wildfire season.” The 100 new firefighters will be added to the usual contingent of 900 personnel. Funding for this extra staff depends on the legislature passing the provincial budget, which will be introduced next week. …Heather Sweet, the NDP critic for forestry, is concerned about the province’s readiness for what could be another record-breaking season for fire.

 

Read More

Local MLA Dan Davies believes provincial government mismanages forestry industry

By Shailynn Foster
Energetic City
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

TAYLOR, B.C. — Peace River North MLA Dan Davies believes the $7 million sale of Canfor’s pulp mill in Taylor is the latest example of the provincial government’s mismanagement of the forestry industry. Davies says it’s a tragedy the mill has closed down following months of curtailments and other closures within the province. Forestry is a massive industry in B.C., and according to Davies, when a large company such as Canfor starts curtailments or permanently shuts down mills — it’s “not a good sign.” The MLA says he’s glad there was a purchase and hopes to hear more details soon, including if the mill in Taylor will reopen. …Davies believes the province has poor forest management practices. “We don’t do enough prescribed burns, we don’t manage our forests, generally, as well as we should,” Davies said. “We need to look at other jurisdictions, [such as] Finland and Sweden.”

Read More

Forestry minister in Whitecourt to announce 100 more firefighters, 2024 wildfire season starts

By Brad Quarin
Fairview Post
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Todd Loewen

ALBERTA — After a tumultuous 2023 wildfire season and amid dry conditions, Forestry Minister Todd Loewen visited Whitecourt on Tuesday afternoon to declare the start of the 2024 wildfire season. Loewen underlined plans to add 100 new wildland firefighters to the Alberta Wildfire Team, bringing the total number of firefighters to approximately 1,000 by May 15. The wildfire season has started 10 days early this year. Loewen said this means permits are now required before burning in the Alberta Forest Protection Area, which includes the Whitecourt Forest Area. “Wildfire prevention is a shared responsibility,” Loewen said during a press conference at the Whitecourt Forestry Warehouse. …Loewen asserted that more than 60 per cent of Alberta’s wildfires in 2023 were caused by humans. The addition of 100 firefighters is dependent on the approval of the 2024 provincial budget, according to Alberta Forestry. As for the possibility of budgeting for more than 100 new firefighters, Loewen deferred to “the budget process” in the Alberta legislature.

Read More

Boreal forest advocates raising awareness around clear-cutting in Saskatchewan

By Jeanelle Mandes
Global News
February 18, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Advocates for Saskatchewan’s boreal forest are raising awareness about the impacts of clear-cut logging. An event was held Saturday at St. George’s Senior’s Centre in Saskatoon to raise awareness and funds to support a legal action to stop clearcut logging. Cathy Sproule, a representative for Big River Forest Advocates said the clear-cut logging interferes with Indigenous peoples who exercise their inherent treaty right to hunt. “There are better ways to log in these heavily populated and well-loved and widely used areas,” she said. …“The ministry and also the government of Saskatchewan is not upholding the provision of the Forest Resources Management Act, which requires a balance between industry and all kinds of other activity and values,” Sproule said. “So we’re going to see what a judge says about it.”

Read More

Implementing UNDRIP: B.C.’s Land Act Reform Sparks Public Debate

By Roy Millen, Sam Adkins and Nicholas Tollefson
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
February 16, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government is consulting the public on reforms to the Land Act to facilitate shared decision-making under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA). The Land Act deals with how public land is used and covers tens of thousands of tenures on public land. …As we approach the five-year anniversary of DRIPA, there are now several examples of mechanisms for shared decision-making with Indigenous governments on land and resource use in B.C.  …The debate and public reaction to the reforms under the Land Act point to the larger question of how the province is approaching shared decision-making in British Columbia, whether under DRIPA or otherwise. …Reconciliation also requires transparency for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike, to advance mutual prosperity. By providing structure and clarity for shared decision-making agreements, the province could advance these two important objectives. 

Read More

Move over Tesla here comes Edison Motors from Merritt

By Jim Hilton
The Williams Lake Tribune
February 17, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

An interesting story has been emerging about two Merritt residents who have created a hybrid (diesel/electric) logging truck prototype that displays innovations and dedication to sustainability. It has taken them two years and over a million dollars (of crowd-source funds mostly from other truckers) to build their first two prototypes. Eric Little and Chace Barber (Edison Motors’ co-founders) were inspired to create their own electric truck since Tesla was so slow at releasing their electric truck as promised in 2016. The hybrid truck is a specially designed heavy-duty vehicle intended to replace traditional diesel-powered logging trucks. Their inspiration came from their mission to protect the environment. …While we wait for the delivery of these hybrid trucks we might start seeing electric motors on the logging trailers. FPInnovations is currently developing a hybrid trailer for forestry operations, with plans to replace a conventional trailer axle with an electrically powered drive axle.

Read More

BC resets talks on plan to give First Nations more say over public land

By Justine Hunter
The Globe and Mail in the Prince George Citizen
February 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Laura Jones

The BC government is conducting an intensive series of meetings with industry and outdoor recreation groups this month, in an attempt to assuage concerns about its proposed changes to the law that governs Crown land. The province plans to amend the Land Act in the spring legislative session to pave the way for joint decision-making with Indigenous communities about public land, bringing it into line with the intent of B.C.’s 2019 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA). But the little-advertised process with its hasty timeline alarmed stakeholders who rely on Crown tenures, stirring up uncertainty about future access. Minister Nathan Cullen is now leading a “reset” of the consultation process. …One of Mr. Cullen’s meetings drew 90 corporate leaders for a two-hour session, with a follow-up promised. Laura Jones of the Business Council of B.C. said, “I wouldn’t say that all of their questions have been answered.”

Read More

Adding biodiversity and capturing carbon at UBC’s forest in Maple Ridge

By Neil Corbett
Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows News
February 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

New research at the UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in Maple Ridge could lead to healthier forests that take more carbon out of the atmosphere, say researchers. Dr. Suzanne Simard and Dr. Dominik Roeser are leading field-based experiments looking at silviculture practices by the B.C. lumber industry in the 1960s and 1970s, and how those 60-year-old forests could now be much improved. The view back then was to grow and harvest stands of Douglas-fir, like a Saskatchewan farmer might raise fields of wheat. The result is plantations that are not as biodiverse, nor as productive as they should be, said Simard. …Selective logging and cutting-edge equipment will be used to address biodiversity and carbon deficits in industrialized conifer plantations. The project involves transitioning monoculture stands to healthier forests, with greater species diversity, and testing various retention levels and harvesting techniques.

Read More

Groups fundraising for court challenge of Saskatchewan logging policy

By Bryn Levy
The Saskatoon StarPhoenix
February 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Groups concerned about increased logging on the edges of Saskatchewan’s boreal forest are raising money to challenge the province’s forestry policy in court. The Saskatchewan Forest Protection Network and the Big River Forest Advocates are teaming up for a “teach-in” event on Saturday. Spokeswoman Cathy Sproule said the fundraising drive comes after years of meetings and advocacy with industry and government have secured only “minor concessions. …While she said provincial officials and industry representatives have been willing to come to meetings, many conversations have left her feeling frustrated and dispirited as concerns remain unaddressed, with a court challenge now seen as a necessary step. …Sproule said she’s hopeful an application can be filed this spring after the government releases its annual forestry plan. …Saturday’s event will feature a talk from Halifax-based journalist Joan Baxter.

Read More

Forest Enhancement Society of BC project updates from around the province

Forest Enhancement Society of BC
February 16, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC Wood supports businesses that manufacture wood products. They are a voice for the value-added industry, bringing innovative ideas to the table and insight to strengthen BC’s wood culture. BC Wood is creating a culture where wood is the first choice for all types of construction and design products. If you are thinking about creating a wood products business, or scaling up and expand your markets for your existing business, BC Wood is a great place to start. Visit BC Wood to learn more. Read our newsletter for more headlines:

  • BC Forest Safety Council safety tip.
  • Fibre utilization projects in the Thompson-Okanagan.
  • Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation leading the charge in sustainable forestry practices.
  • Osoyoos Indian Band and Mercer Celgar increase fibre utilization of residual wood.
  • Faces of Forestry features FESBC’s Board Chair, Dave Peterson.
  • FESBC is hiring an Operations Manager. 

Read More

Detailed environmental impact assessment needs to be done on Zincton development proposal: Sinixt Confederacy

By Timothy Schafer
The Penticton Herald
February 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

SLOCAN VALLEY, BC — A full environmental impact assessment of the proposed Zincton all-season resort is being called for by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Sinixt Confederacy. Currently before the Mountain Resorts Branch of the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the back country ski development proposed for the Selkirk Mountains in the Slocan Valley needs a deeper view, said Jarred-Michael Erickson, chairman of the Confederated Tribes. “This proposed project is going to be built on high quality wildlife habitat within a critical wildlife corridor between two major parks,” he said in a Feb. 8 letter to the Province. “Our preliminary internal review has raised a number of concerns, including potential impacts to blue-listed species such as wolverine and grizzly bear.” …His view was supported by the West Kootenay EcoSociety website, arguing that the entire proposed development would disrupt a wildlife corridor between two provincial parks.

Additional coverage in the Langley Advance Times, by Bill Metcalfe: U.S. group wants formal assessment of massive B.C. back country ski resort

Read More

Benefits being cut for some members of Interior Lumberman’s Pension Plan

By Rob Gibson
Castanet
February 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

As many as 150 British Columbia lumber industry companies and their workers are getting a massive shock as they begin to sell their companies, retire, and start collecting pension benefits they have been paying into for decades. Some who are already collecting benefits from the Interior Lumberman’s Pension Plan have had their payments reduced by as much as 40 per cent due to a solvency deficit within the fund that the pensioners and their lawyer allege is a result of mismanagement. …The ILPP was started back in 1978 and covered independent, non-unionized forestry sector companies and their employees working in the B.C. Interior. According to David Wotherspoon of Wotherspoon Law, the plan was designed to provide independent contractors with medical and pension benefits. …A letter sent to the Minister of Finance by the Interior Logging Association’s Todd Chamberlain in January 2023 called on the province to step in and take some action on the issue. 

Read More

B.C. boosts wildfire-fighting fleet, equipment

By the Ministry of Forests
Government of British Columbia
February 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Province is taking action to prepare for the upcoming wildfire season by upgrading and expanding B.C.’s firefighting aviation and ground fleet, as well as equipment for ground crews. …Drawing on feedback from the Premier’s expert task force on emergencies, the Province is strengthening its response to wildfire emergencies by expanding the amount of firefighting tools available to crews to provide broader response capabilities and keep people and communities as safe as possible. Upgrades are being made to firefighting equipment and fire camp infrastructure, which are critical to the safety and well-being of wildland firefighters. Nearly $16 million has been invested ahead of April 2024 to expand BC Wildfire Service’s on-the-ground firefighting equipment, including pumps, fire camp equipment, safety gear, and medical and hygiene equipment.

Read More

Manitoba First Nations concerned over major issues in province’s forestry plan

By Kayla Rosen
CTV News Winnipeg
February 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Three Manitoba First Nations are calling on the provincial government to reject a forest management plan for the Duck Mountain and Kettle Hills area. On Wednesday, Minegoziibe Anishinabe, Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation (WSFN), and Sapotaweyak Cree Nation (SCN) released a statement, saying that the government needs to take action to protect their land and Treaty rights. According to the statement, the province has allowed a U.S.-based logging company to harvest timber in First Nation territories without an approved forest management plan for nearly two decades. This commercial logging is taking place in Duck Mountain Provincial Park, as well as the Kettle Kills Area. Now, the province is set to approve a 20-year forest management plan. However, the First Nations are saying that studies show there are deficiencies in this plan. 

Read More

NDP face major selling job on their changes to the Land Act

By Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun
February 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Nathan Cullen

The B.C. New Democrats face an uphill selling job with the public judging from an opinion poll on their plan to allow co-management of Crown Land with First Nations. Almost half of those polled said they had “heard nothing” about the government’s plan. …Only 13% considered themselves “familiar” with the proposed changes… [and] once informed of the basic outline of the NDP plan, 94% considered it a major change. The pollster found support for “reconciliation” with First Nations, but heard concerns that the changes could “hurt the economy.” Almost 75% of those surveyed supported a provincial referendum on the issue. The New Democrats say they will stay the course and pass the legislation this spring. …The government further insists that “the changes will have no effect on tenures, renewals, private properties, or access to Crown land.” …First Nations and some legal experts do maintain that the proposed changes are no big deal. Others disagree.

Read More

Is BC ‘Returning All Traditional Lands’ to First Nations?

By Amanda Follett Hosgood
The Tyee
February 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Anyone reading about proposed amendments to B.C.’s Land Act might believe there are major changes afoot. Private property is at risk. Outdoor recreation is threatened. Water access, mining, forestry and agriculture all now hang in the balance as the BC NDP threatens to quietly take away every land-use right that British Columbians currently enjoy. The government, the analysis goes, is about to quietly pass control over the vast majority of its land base to the First Nations who stewarded it for millennia….Except the changes wouldn’t do that — they are less radical, and more creeping bureaucracy. …They would “allow the government to enter into agreements with First Nations on what is likely very specific, large-scale projects,” Lands Minister Nathan Cullen said. …What the changes also wouldn’t do is affect the province’s 40,000 existing land tenures or the 2,500 renewals it issues on an annual basis, Cullen added.

Read More

Alberta running out the clock on caribou

By Lorne Fitch, former professor, University of Calgary
The Edmonton Journal
February 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The federal government, the last chance for species at risk, has told the province to produce and deliver on a plan to ensure caribou don’t go the way of the passenger pigeon. A recently released report, years late, shows little or no progress. Caribou task forces were formed of concerned conservation groups and Indigenous peoples plus the usual foot-draggers of industry. In particular, the timber and energy industries are the ultimate gatekeepers, trying to run out the clock for caribou, as they maximize economic opportunity. They are abetted by timorous provincial politicians, who hide in plain sight, behind the smokescreen of these committees. Caribou are running out of time. This species depends on mature to old growth forests. …Doing nothing is not a course of action. Instead, it is a flight from responsibility and accountability. It may be high time for the federal government to step in. 

Read More

Parks Canada more than halfway through creating wildfire safety barrier

By Bill Macfarlane
CTV News Calgary
February 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

There’s a big logging operation underway just west of Lake Louise. Parks Canada is a little past halfway through creating a safety barrier meant to stop wildfires from going too far and to give fire crews a place to stand and fight. A large strip of trees is being removed from the boundary of Banff and Yoho. “This area is prone to lightning strikes, so we’re creating a break in the fuels on the landscape to protect the communities of Field and Lake Louise in the event of a wildfire,” said Shelley Tamelin, Parks Canada wildfire risk reduction manager. The tightly packed lodgepole pine hasn’t burned in nearly a century.  The cut block is just over a kilometre long and about 500 metres across, stretching from Ross Lake to the Trans-Canada Highway. …marketable timber is being sent to lumber and pulp mills – standing dead wood will be sold for campfires.

Read More

Forest Service needs to include ecological stewardship

By Anthony Britneff, retired B.C. Forest ­Service
Victoria Times Colonist
February 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Anthony Britneff

With many forestry communities upset with the poor stewardship of their local forests and with contamination of their drinking water from clearcut logging, one wonders why appeasing initiatives like the Old Growth Strategy (1991), the Protected Areas Strategy (1993) and the Old Growth Deferral Initiative (2021) have not delivered. The only substantive changes to how forests are stewarded, or not, have resulted from new legislation. Politicians eager to appease public concerns about forestry without conviction (i.e., without changing the law), do so by offering up these flavour-of-the-month initiatives, which are bound to fail because their requirement is not rooted in law. …Astonishingly, in 2024, the forest ministry has no stewardship purpose for the conservation of biodiversity, soil and water, for the maintenance of ecosystem health and for the sustainable use of forest resources. We need to rewrite the purposes of the forest ministry to include a stewardship purpose in a new Ministry of Forests Act.

Read More

Glyphosate study waste of time and money

By James Steidle, Stop the Spray
Prince George Citizen
February 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

James Steidle

So apparently taxpayers are going to spend $1.5 million researching the damage glyphosate is doing to our forests. We will have to wait five years for the results. It’s kind of a neat trick our federal funding authorities pulled. $1.5 million is a cheap hall pass to hold the critics at bay while we keep doing more studies amidst ongoing clouds of glyphosate in our forests. Shouldn’t the pesticide companies have footed the bill for this research before telling us spraying forests with a chelating, patented antimicrobial agent that kills 50 percent of select boreal fungi species at standard field application rates was A-OK? Ultimately, the research is a waste of taxpayer money.  …Another question: instead of paying for studies on glyphosate, why don’t we pay for studies on how much carbon tax we should charge the softwood industry for all the surplus carbon sequestration we lose out on because of their war on aspen?

Read More

Osoyoos’ Nk’Mip Forestry head recognized for wildfire recovery

By Brennan Phillips
Pentiction Western News
February 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jamie Jeffreys & Peter Flett 

The head of the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Nk’Mip Forestry company was recognized for their responses to recovering after the Nk’Mip Creek Wildfire in 2021. Peter Flett, the head of forest operations, received the award from the BC Forest Professional Magazine (FPBC) for his article Keys to Improving Forest Recovery Post-wildfire: The Critical Roles of Proper Planning, Implementation, and First Nations’ Collaboration. The award was presented at the annual FPBC conference in Kelowna over Feb. 7 to 9. …Flett’s article delves into how to better collaborate on forest management based on the knowledge he has gained working with members of the OIB community. In addition to recognizing the standout work in Flett’s article, the FPBC recognized Nk’Mip Forestry for its response to the wildfire. The Nk’Mip Creek Wildfire covered over 19,000 hectares of land near Oliver and Osoyoos in 2021.

Read More

B.C. government to share land use authority with First Nations

By Bruce Uzelman, Kelowna, BC
Campbell River Mirror
February 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Bruce Uzelman

Liberal and NDP governments in Ottawa and Victoria are crafting very progressive agendas. They often have commendable objectives, but they show no regard for the proportionality of the actions taken, and no consideration of the impacts. …A January 2023 press release marked the beginning of another problematic policy. The government wrote that it reached a co-management deal with four First Nations to manage Crown lands in Treaty 8 territories. The release implied the agreement was necessitated by a 2021 Supreme Court decision, which found that Treaty 8 rights had been breached by the impacts of development authorized by the government of B.C. The reforms then and now, however, go far beyond compliance with that court decision. The Eby government now plans to share its authority to make land use decisions with the 203 First Nations across the province. …To facilitate this, the province is planning to make changes to the Land Act. The language describing the changes is confusing.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

British Columbians support $36B electricity grid expansion, renewables over LNG

Clean Energy Canada
February 21, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — With a low snowpack threatening hydroelectricity production in B.C., power concerns are more top of mind than usual for many British Columbians. Overwhelmingly, B.C. residents support the provincial government and BC Hydro’s recent $36 billion investment to expand and improve the electricity grid over the next decade, according to a new public opinion survey conducted by Stratcom for Clean Energy Canada. A third of respondents (33%) say the expansion is overdue, while another 40% say the province is acting at the right time. …As for the type of power generated, British Columbians would like to see more renewable options, with hydro (84%), solar (81%), and wind (79%) taking the top spots. Respondents also expressed strong support for energy storage (78%)—often paired with wind or solar power to store energy for later use—and homeowner-generated rooftop solar (75%). [38% identified biomass as important or very important]

Read More

Don’t invest your carbon offset in trees

By Kristy Dyer
Castanet News
February 20, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Trees take in carbon and give up oxygen. The region around them benefits from their shade and trees put moisture into the air. A mature tree can absorb 20 to 30 kilograms of carbon annually. However, trees make lousy carbon credits. Let’s begin with age. A tree starts as a seedling, a tiny plant. That seedling captures almost no carbon. It takes 10 years (depending on the species) for a tree to become a carbon-absorbing machine. When you invest in a tree-related carbon credit, you are essentially saying “I will emit carbon today but I promise to make up for it 10 years from now”. …You can plant a tree today but who is going to safeguard it over the next 100 years? Trees can be lost to forest fire, development and disease, such as the pine bark beetle. …Planting projects have chosen trees that are wrong for the region, which then became an invasive species.

Read More

Catalyzing Carbon Dioxide Removal at Scale: New Report Released

B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy
Cision Newswire
February 14, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC – The B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE) has released a techno-economic analysis of pathways to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere at a multi-gigatonne scale. The “Catalyzing Carbon Dioxide Removal at Scale” report confirms that alongside decarbonization and emissions reduction efforts, big impact strategies for carbon removal are needed to meet 2050 net-zero targets and remain in line with a 1.5°C future. This report uncovers promising economic opportunities and new areas for carbon removal innovation, spanning forest management and wildfire prevention, direct ocean capture and alkalinity enhancement, and direct air capture and carbon mineralization. “This report evaluates viable pathways to scaling CDR. This work supports IBET Climate’s mission to find and develop the technologies, products, and teams to build world class companies that will address at least 1% of the world’s carbon emissions at scale,” said Ron Dizy, Chief Executive Officer at IBET Climate.

Read More

No backing down on climate action, Eby tells Globe Forum

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
February 14, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Eby and Megan Leslie

With consumers feeling the bite of ever-increasing carbon taxes, and business leaders pushing back on the potential economic costs of B.C.’s climate change policies, David Eby’s NDP government is coming under increasing pressure to take its foot off the CleanBC accelerator. Recently, the Business Council of BC pointed out that the provincial government’s own economic analysis projects the West Coast economy could be $28 billion smaller by 2030 under the CleanBC plan than without it. …In a Globe Forum fireside chat with Eby, Megan Leslie, president of the World Wildlife Fund, noted that B.C. has greater biodiversity than any other province, but also the most species at risk. This gave Eby the opportunity to point to his government’s 30 By 30 plan, which aims to set aside 30 per cent of B.C.’s land and waters for conservation, backed up by about $1 billion in funds from senior government, environmental groups and First Nations to allow for economic opportunities.

Read More

Health & Safety

Canfor mill worker dies 12 days after being electrocuted

By Ted Clarke
TriCity News
February 21, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Gary Lefebvre

A Prince George pipefitter who was injured in an industrial accident while working at Intercontinental Pulp Mill on Jan. 31 has died. The man, identified by a family friend as 45-year-old Gary Lefebvre, was operating an electric hoist attached to an overhead monorail in the mill when he was electrocuted. According to WorkSafeBC, “the worker was holding the control pendant and leaning on a metal guardrail to view the area of the lift when they collapsed. An exposed 347-volt conductor was subsequently found on the electric hoist power cable in close proximity to where the worker had been.” …The person who contacted the Citizen said Lefebvre’s family was wondering why the news media was not given any notice of the accident. She said the electric shock stopped Lefevre’s heart but he was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene, which revived him before he was transported to UHNBC. He spent four days in hospital before being sent home. He was at home with his wife and their six-year-old son when he died suddenly on Feb. 11.

Read More