WSCA 2014 Annual Conference Roundupdate

John ConferenceA strong showing of company and government dirt foresters and managers made this year’s WSCA annual conference a particularly practical and productive session. Here are some of the high points and WSCA strategic objectives arising from the conference:

2014 Annual Conference Roundupdate.pdf

Change Needed for Pine Plantation Management and Stocking Standards

Timber supply challenges and plantation health problems may require planting pine at much higher densities in certain TSAs across the province. This was the general consensus on basic silviculture practices from a panel of government and industry foresters. Getting in the way of that objective are the appraisal system and post free-growing inventory problems. At stake is the future timber supply and public confidence in our ability to manage forests for the long term.

Room for collaboration with customers on safety, pricing and conferences

Not all forest companies, or government, deal with contractors in the same way. But as the conference’s industry and BCTS customer panel proceedings revealed there is considerable common ground for discussion around training, and training costs, worker recruitment and retention, including even the third rail of customer relations: pricing. That collaboration promises also to extend to joint efforts with industry in supporting and planning for future WSCA conferences.

The beginning of the end of quality fines

Many forest companies have ceased fining contractors as part of their silviculture project and contractor management practices. This was confirmed by the customer panel discussion on business relations with contractors. Even BCTS accepted that there is reason to doubt the value and effectiveness of fining contractors. The WSCA is planning talks with BCTS.

Emergency Response on Remote Sites Gets Priority Status

A conference panel reviewed the recently released Draft Report Related to Remote Worksite Emergency Response in the BC Silviculture Sector. The report’s findings and recommendations were generally approved by the assembly. A silviculture sector stakeholder steering committee will be struck to follow through on its proposals. WorkSafeBC indicated emergency planning will be part of its forestry high risk strategy adding more weight to the report’s implications.

BCTS Review Needs WSCA Member Input

As discussed at the conference government is currently reviewing the role and effectiveness of BC Timber Sales. The WSCA has been asked to contribute to this review particularly in the area of effectiveness. Contractors should submit their experiences and recommendations, especially around what they think BCTS does well and not so well, to the WSCA executive director in the next ten days. It is likely the pending report will have a profound effect on the future of BCTS and how it operates.

Former Minister George Abbott Points to Challenges Government Faces

Describing himself as a recovering politician George Abbott added to his reputation as a deadpan wit giving the conference keynote address. His dry humour offset a fairly sobering appraisal of the growing tidal wave of costs government faces for health and education. Nevertheless he emphasized the importance of the WSCA to continue to work and talk with government or face the consequences of going unnoticed or ignored. Mr. Abbott also mentioned his cat’s possible resemblance to a certain historical personage.

For more information on the conference and WSCA activities follow us on Facebook and www.wfca.ca. Also try out www.bcbushwhacker.com. To find out how you can join the WSCA and contribute to its efforts on behalf for the silviculture contracting sector contact the WSCA office at 604-736-8660.