Mid Coast Deal Causes Cutbacks on FRBC Spending

Forest companies holding back on tendering to Forest Renewal BC-funded forestry projects…

Forest companies are beginning to hold back on tendering Forest Renewal BC-funded forestry projects across the province following last months¹ announcement that the corporation will have to fund up to $35-million as part of the NDP¹s Mid Coast harvest reduction agreement with environmentalists. Although FRBC has not announced any funding clawbacks yet, they have instructed multi-year agreement holders to look for cost savings in their programs. That request has signalled that this year¹s $287-million business plan may have to be re-jigged to include the government-ordered creation of a segregated fund to assist communities and workers affected by the Mid Coast plan. Just which existing FRBC programs will be affected and how aggressively the business plan will be attacked are all uncertain at this time. This year¹s Forest Renewal budget is already operating at an estimated $140-million deficit. Funding the trust could drain money from other job creating activities in enhanced forestry and environmental restoration spreading the highly politicized deal¹s job losses to other regions and workers in the province. The FRBC board of directors will meet next week to consider its options.