Daily News for April 12, 2024

Special Feature

Greg Stewart, Chief Terry Teegee kick-off COFI conference

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor
The Tree Frog Forestry News
April 11, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada

This week, over 700 business, government, First Nations and community leaders have gathered in Vancouver for the BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) annual convention. Greg Stewart, President, Sinclar Group Forest Products and COFI Chair opened the conference by welcoming the many provincial, municipal, First Nation and industry leaders present. Referencing the sector’s current challenges, Stewart said, “this is a pivotal time for the sector because there is no going back. Our collective focus is on what we need to do differently to reshape the industry in the short and long term”. Noting that there are a lot of complex and difficult issues on our plate, Stewart said, ” we need to prioritize our actions and hopefully—by tomorrow when Premier Eby arrives—all be on the same page”.

Stewart introduced Squamish First Nation representatives, who welcomed the delegates to their unceded territory and spoke of their Nations’ unique and long history in the area. Welcoming the delegates on behalf of the host city was Vancouver Councillor Lisa Dominato. Referencing statistics from the economic impact study released by COFI, Dominato spoke of the forest industry’s significant contribution to Vancouver and noted “the importance of talking to the public about this import given that it helps the city meet their goals and bridge the rural/urban divide.

Regional Chief, BC Assembly of First Nations Terry Teegee provided the opening keynote talking about the importance of shared decision making, emphasizing the path forward for the forest industry will be in partnerships that are rooted in free, prior and informed consent through processes that adhere to UNDRIPA. In the Q&A with Shannon Janzen, Chief Teegee talked about how “UNDRIPA can be the path to certainty for the industry, creating the space needed to make the decisions”. With respect to potential desputes, Teegee agrees that there is a need for a dispute resoluton process. He said First Nations communities want to be a part of the economy and more First Nations are thinking about opportunities, such as utilizing fibre for energy and creating value added products. 

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COFI afternoon panels focus on US Trade, forest sector resilience and CEO hopes and dreams

By Travis Joern, Director of Communication, COFI
The Tree Frog Forestry News
April 11, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

During the luncheon Keynote, Arun Alexander, Canada’s Deputy Ambassador to the United States discussed the productive and mutually beneficial trade relationship between Canada and the USA, and how this benefits the forestry sector. …Susan Yurkovich at Canfor moderated a Q&A with the Deputy Ambassador, where the two discussed the trajectory of the trade relationship. …At COFI’s panel on “Wildfires, Biodiversity and Natural Disturbances: Building a More Resilient Forest Sector”, we were joined by Torchlight Resources’ Jamie Stephen, BC Forest Practices Board’s Keith Atkinson, United Steelworkers’s Jeff Bromley, and Mosaic Forests’s Molly Hudson with Sandy Ferguson moderating the session. The forest industry is constantly evolving, where forest planning must prepare for natural disturbances, account for Indigenous values, and maintain socio-economic benefits now and in the future. …The last panel of the day looked to the role of forestry leadership, with West Fraser Timber’s Sean McLaren, Western Forest Products’ Steven Hofer, Nanwakolas Council’s Dallas Smith, Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ Robert Dennis Sr. and Gorman Group’s Nick Arkle. Business Council of BC’s Laura Jones, moderated the session. 

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COFI morning panels focus on economics and investments, workforce resilience and strategies for stabilizing fibre flow

By Travis Joern, Director of Communications, COFI
Tree Frog Forestry News
April 11, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kicking off the first panel, COFI’s Kurt Niquidet introduced the Forest Industry Economic Impact Study, highlighting the economic benefits of the sector in BC. Forestry is an economic powerhouse. …Daryl Swetlishoff, at Raymond James discussed capital flows and the need for further investment in Forestry to ensure the future for those benefits for years to come and Kimberly Burns, at Dentons, said challenges in profitability and turnaround time can deter private investors, particularly when there is uncertainty. …During a Spotlight Session, Jason Krips of Alberta Forest Products Association and Louise Bender of Mosaic Forest Management spoke about building workforce resilience through diversity. …One of the most important discussions at the 2024 COFI Convention is BC’s Strategy for Stabilizing Fibre Supply. COFI’s Linda Coady asserted the importance of stabilizing fiber supply requires an “all hands on deck” approach. The Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston, the Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation Andrew Mercier, and BC First Nation Forest Council’s Lennard Joe sat down together to discuss this critical issue.

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Business & Politics

A ‘vicious cycle’ is scaring away investment from B.C. forests, says industry

By Stefan Labbé
The Delta Optimist
April 11, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A dwindling supply of wood fibre and the B.C. government’s move to create a “paradigm shift” in the forestry industry is leading to a “vicious cycle” that is scaring investment away from the province, warned private equity experts and industry leaders Thursday. The comments, made at the BC Council of Forest Industries annual meeting in Vancouver, came following a year in which about 32 million cubic metres of wood was harvested — nearly half of what it was five years ago, said COFI’s president and CEO Linda Coady. …Andrew Mercier, who was appointed as B.C. Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation about three months ago, said he has been relentlessly touring the province to understand what is ailing forestry. …“There’s a short-term crunch here,” he conceded. …While industry says bad policy pushed B.C.’s forest industry to suffer unnecessary losses, others have suggested the situation is of their own making.

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RoyOMartin Announces $30 Million Modernization of Timber Manufacturing Facility in Southwest Louisiana

Louisiana Economic Development News
April 11, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

OAKDALE, Louisiana – Martco, parent company for timber sourcing and manufacturing company RoyOMartin, announced it will invest more than $30 million to install technologically advanced production equipment at its Allen Parish plant that produces oriented strand board for the housing industry The RoyOMartin OSB plant is one of the parish’s largest employers, and as a result of this expansion, the company will retain its 232 full-time employees who earn an annual average salary of $75,000. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will also result in nearly 600 indirectly supported jobs in the state, for a total of 831 retained and indirectly supported jobs. …RoyOMartin has its headquarters in Alexandria and additional plants in Chopin, Louisiana, and Corrigan, Texas. To win the Oakdale project, Louisiana Economic Development offered a competitive incentive package that includes a performance-based Retention and Modernization Tax Credit valued at $455,400.

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Two Rivers Lumber plans $115 million sawmill project in Coosa County, Alabama

By Jerry Underwood
Alabama News Center
April 11, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

ALABAMA — Governor Kay Ivey announced today that Two Rivers Lumber plans to invest $115 million to build a state-of-the-art sawmill in Coosa County as the company’s second operation in Alabama. Demopolis-based Two Rivers Lumber has committed to creating 130 jobs at the new Alabama sawmill, which will specialize in the production of Southern yellow pine dimensional lumber. …Two Rivers was established by the McElroy family, owners of McElroy Truck Lines in Cuba, Alabama, and Roy Geiger, owner of Sumter Timber in Jefferson, Alabama. The company opened its first sawmill in Marengo County in 2017. Today, the facility near Demopolis has an annual capacity of 200 million board feet and 145 full-time employees. …Peak North America is leading construction of the facility in Kellyton, with a start set for June.

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Finance & Economics

Canada needs to build 1.3 million additional homes by 2030 to close housing gap, budget watchdog says

By Nojoud al Mallees
The Canadian Press in The Globe and Mail
April 11, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada

The parliamentary budget officer says Canada would need to build 1.3 million additional homes by 2030 to eliminate the country’s housing gap. The newly released report looks at how many more homes would need to be built restore Canada’s vacancy rate to the historical average. The report by Yves Giroux’s office also accounts for the number of additional households that would form if sufficient housing were available. Based on those benchmarks, the PBO estimates that Canada would need to build 181,000 more homes a year than it currently does. The report does not take into account recent federal efforts to bolster housing supply or Ottawa’s newly imposed cap on temporary residents. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. says Canada needs to build 3.5 million more homes by 2030 to restore affordability to 2003-04 levels. Giroux says his estimate is much lower than that of the CMHC because he looked solely at closing the gap between demand and supply.

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Forest Fires

Southern Vancouver Island has 1st official 2024 wildfire near Shawnigan Lake

By Mark Page
North Island Gazette
April 11, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Fire season is underway. Southern Vancouver Island’s had its first officially reported wildfire on April 5 — though the small human-caused spot fire near Shawnigan Lake was quickly dealt with. “We had dispatched a response officer who attended and determined that our crews were not required, as the fire was quickly brought under control by people on site who had remained on site until the fire was extinguished,” said Rebecca Grogan, a fire information officer for BC Wildfire Service. The fire grew to about two metres by five metres before it was put out, Grogan added. It was about 1.5 kilometres east of Shawnigan Lake in the Strathcona Heights area, which put it in the Shawnigan Lake Fire Department’s jurisdiction. BC Wildfire had responded before they had accurate coordinates for the fire.

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