Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association Rumour Mill RoundUpDate Volume 17, Issue 4

February 17, 2017
Volume 17, Issue 4

Warning: Many of the facts contained in this edition are very hot off the press and should be handled accordingly.

Forest Enhancement Society of BC to Receive Millions (more) in Forest Restoration Funding.

Just after noon today in Prince George Premier Christie Clark announced $150-million in additional funding to the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) “to plant tens of millions more trees, which will help fight climate change and create over 3,000 jobs in rural British Columbia.”

This would bring total funding to date to the FESBC to $235-million taking into account the original funding it received when it was created about a year ago by our government. It would also make the arm’s-length-from-government society a major component in delivering on two of the BC Liberals’ principal strategies: job creation and climate change. Given that the society is just approaching its second year it shows our government has considerable confidence in the organization and its business model for delivering on what are likely going to prove to be very complex goals and objectives

In our modest view some of that confidence may be justified. By giving the funding to the FESBC the money becomes exempt to some of the rules around government fiscal budgets and immune to the shifting priorities and claw backs that forestry funding has occasionally suffered from in the past. It also sets up the possibility of attracting federal funding being the FESBC’s mandate is separate, at least in theory, from government’s own obligations around maintaining a diverse and abundant forest resource.

Offsetting this optimism a little, we have to invoke the truism, “The devil remains in the details.” And there are a lot of them. Nevertheless, this has to be seen as good news for the forestry contracting sector.

Here is the complete text of the press release:

For Immediate Release 2017PREM0026-000349 Feb. 17, 2017

NEWS RELEASE

Office of the Premier Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource

Operations

$150-million reforestation investment will help fight climate change, create more rural jobs PRINCE GEORGE Today, Premier Christy Clark announced $150 million for the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia to plant tens of millions more trees, which will help fight climate change and create over 3,000 jobs in rural British Columbia.

This is an investment in our forests, in B.C.s rural communities and the worlds clean air, said Premier Christy Clark. This initiative is another example of how we do business in B.C., striking a balance between environmental protection and economic priorities. Thats the approach that has built Canadas leading economy, and a world-recognized leader on climate action.

The $150 million will be transferred in the 2016-17 fiscal year as a lump-sum payment to the independent Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia to advance environmental stewardship and, in particular, focus on reforestation initiatives throughout the province. This is in addition to the $85 million government allocated in 2015-16 to the society.

The rehabilitation and reforestation of damaged forest stands will provide significant greenhouse gas benefits and increase the use of low-quality fibre,said Jim Snetsinger, vice- chair, Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia. The society is pleased to receive this funding and we will work with government agencies, First Nations, forest licensees and stakeholders to achieve these important objectives.

This one-time investment builds on existing programs within the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to support the implementation of the Forest Carbon Initiative. This initiative includes a suite of activities under B.C.s Climate Leadership Plan, which target the reduction of carbon emissions in the forest sector and the capture of carbon through the restoration of forests damaged by disease and wildfire.

Since 2005, weve invested over $445 million in reforestation through Forests for Tomorrow, said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson. Todays funding will build on those efforts and ensure our children can enjoy the environmental and economic benefits we enjoy from our forests.

As mentioned in the Climate Leadership Plan, a dedicated forest rehabilitation program can help support over 3,000 jobs over the next five years. A 10-year program can support over 20,000 jobs and lead to annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of up to 11.7 million tonnes by 2050 meeting both provincial and federal targets.

Learn More:

B.C.s Climate Leadership Plan: https://climate.gov.bc.ca/

Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.: http://www.fesbc.ca/ A backgrounder follows

Media Contacts:

Stephen Smart, Press Secretary, Office of the Premier, 778 389-6202

Vivian Thomas, Communications Director, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 250 356-2475

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

For Immediate Release 2017PREM0026-000349 Feb. 17, 2017

BACKGROUNDER

Office of the Premier Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource

Operations

What is being said about the increased investment in British Columbia’s forests John Betts, executive director, Western Forestry Contractors Association

This firm funding is good news for the forestry contracting sector, in that it will create meaningful and ongoing employment for our members. This investment creates certainty for the small business owners that comprise our sector and, of course, this investment is also good news for our forests especially those in the Interior that have been damaged by the mountain pine beetle.

Christine Gelowitz, CEO, Association of B.C. Forest Professionals

On behalf of the Provinces 5,300 forest professionals, I applaud the government’s additional investment in the stewardship of our forests. We have an excellent forest management track record in B.C. and additional investments like this will build stronger forests that will withstand the effects of climate change and benefit future generations. Healthy, growing forests sustainably managed by B.C.s forest professionals are a win for both our environment and our economy.

Rick Jeffery, president and CEO, Coast Forest Products Association

Today’s funding commitment recognizes the important role that reforestation plays in advancing climate change goals, and acts directly on recommended actions in Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competitiveness Agenda for British Columbia’s Forest Sector. We know that healthy, resilient forests are foundational to the forest sector.

Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries

This investment will rehabilitate and replant hundreds and thousands of hectares of public lands impacted by the mountain pine beetle and wildfire. This funding will augment the work that industry undertakes to reforest every hectare of land that is harvested.

Ross Peck, chair, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation

The Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. is partnering with the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to fund conservation projects and restore habitat in forested areas. The foundation would welcome the opportunity to help invest additional funds in projects that will have lasting benefits for British Columbia’s wildlife.

David Elstone, executive director, Truck Loggers Association

Investing in a healthy forest for tomorrow also ensures jobs in B.C.s rural communities. TLA members live and work in these communities and they appreciate the government making this investment in our renewable resource to ensure we can all share in the prosperity of B.C.s working forest.

Media Contacts:

Stephen Smart, Press Secretary, Office of the Premier 778 389-6202

Vivian Thomas, Communications Director, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 250 356-2475

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect