Western Forestry Contractors’ Association Rumour Mill RoundUpDate Volume 17, Issue 13

June 23, 2017
Volume 17, Issue 13

Warning: Some of the facts contained in this edition may have political connotations.

Spring 2017 Planting Season Winds Down;
Summer Hot-Lift Warms Up

Summer 2017: nothing but blue sky (?) and 61 million more seedlings to plant this year

The advent of the summer solstice is usually considered the best-before date for spring planting in a normal year. This year hasn’t been all that normal in parts of the province. Deep snow packs, subsequent flooding, mudslides and even wind storms have delayed and disrupted planting pretty much from the Coast and throughout much of the Interior at times. As a result best estimates suggest we may have a week, or so, delay in finishing spring planting in some parts. When those seedlings are done that will put us in the 200-million seedlings planted range so far based on sowing requests for the 2017 planting year. This year’s estimated grand total is in the 260-million seedling range with the remaining 60 million to be planted as hot-lift stock over the summer in the Interior, then late summer and fall on the Coast. Of course hot-lift seedlings are not frozen and stored and are lifted once they are in a biological condition to be planted. And that is impacted by past and current regional conditions depending on where the nurseries are located, stock type, and whether seedlings are growing in green houses or outdoors. This means considerable variability for start up for the summer nursery to nursery across the province. Meanwhile our well-informed sources indicate sowing requests for 2018 planting are at around 205 million so far. If this year’s summer and fall sowing requests for planting in 2018 are similar to this year’s, then we may see another 260-million next year.

Series of Small Errors Lead to Worker Being
Driven Over in Camp

Crew and truck marshaling areas are actually high hazard sites for workers

We’re grateful to Summit Reforestation for providing a motor vehicle accident safety alert after a new worker was driven over while resting near parked work vehicles in one of their camps earlier this spring. The worker was badly crushed by the rear tires of a truck when the driver moved forward and began turning the vehicle around. The alert provides some important lessons that all of us in the forest industry need to pay attention to. Unfortunately over the last few years close calls, serious injuries and at least one fatality have occurred previously in work camp parking lots or other marshaling areas where workers get in or out of trucks, or walk around or between them. In this case the newly-arrived worker had laid down to rest near a row of parked trucks. The apparent slow speed of vehicles parking, departing, arriving and backing at camp or motel may give a misleading impression of low risk. But blind spots, truck and human traffic, and the possibility for distraction actually make vehicle marshaling areas high hazards. As the safety alert points out, in this setting even small departures from normal practices, some of them minor on their own, can lead to serious injuries and mishaps. Read the full safety alert here.

A Quick Primer on the NDP/Green Position on Forestry

The BC Liberals promised to promote BC wood products and fight trade protectionism.

The field guide to a future NDP/Green power sharing government has yet to be written. But judging from their reaction to yesterday’s Throne Speech we may need one soon. By way of making a contribution to a possible section on forestry we provide this short summary of things gleaned from their respective forestry platforms and subsequent caucus agreement.

    The promised $15.00 per hour minimum wage, as we discussed last edition, will definitely affect nurseries and silviculture contractors;
    • The NDP’s election platform included a commitment to increase reforestation in the province;
    • The Greens promised to form a forest opportunities panel, utilize fiber better, and rewrite the Forest and Range Ecology Act;
    • Both parties promised to reduce raw log exports in their caucus agreement;
    • They agreed to reinvigorate (as opposed to “revitalize” as the Liberals have promised) the forest sector;
    • They also want to discourage slash pile burning by taxing the practice;
    • Both parties were skeptical of the BC Liberal Climate Leadership Plan, which has a strong forestry tilt to it. But they mostly faulted the leadership part.

Nevertheless, the real challenge will not likely be whatever ideological certitudes both parties might bring to governance, although they will be felt. In practice it will be their lack of experience in governing and how quickly they learn the ropes that will determine how effectively they govern. Alberta went through an adjustment period when the NDP came to power in 2015. And, and not to invite any comparisons to the U.S., but there is a problem there with a party that has been out of power, now trying to figure out how to govern. By many accounts that may not be going well. We will do better, of course.