Western Forestry Contractors’ Association Rumour Mill RoundUpDate Volume 17, Issue 21

October 27, 2017
Vol. 17, Issue 21

Warning: None of the facts in this fall edition contain pumpkin spice.

Forest Minister Doug Donaldson Announces
2017 BC Flood and Fire Review

Rising waters of the Kettle River near Rock Creek brought on by an early heat wave this spring.

It’s been an exceptional natural disaster year for many parts of BC. Some regions went almost without a break from floods to wildfires. With these kinds of extraordinary events putting so much of the province at risk for such an extended time there was a growing expectation in government and from the public that a special review was in order. Doug Donaldson Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development announced just that in Parliament last week framing plans to commission an external review “…not just the technical reviews that are underway right now in my ministry or the ministry responsible for Emergency B.C. but an overall, comprehensive review of what happened this summer, right from the floods through the wildfires, to make sure that we understand the best practices and also what can be improved upon.” The minister made it clear the independent review would be “forward-looking” similar to the Firestorm 2003 Provincial Review, but broader in scope including the floods. In describing what he meant by comprehensive Minister Donaldson indicated that along with internal agency reviews and public hearings the process would comprise “a team of experts who have the expertise to ask the really pointed and tough questions.” He also promised to include more than just the role of the provincial ministries, but local and First Nations government’s abilities to respond to the fires and floods as well. Just who will lead the task is still in the works. Terms of reference for the review are under development. But the intention is to begin the undertaking as soon as possible, taking into consideration the state of many of the communities still recovering, and complete it in time to consider any recommendations by next spring. For the complete budget estimates debates on this click here.

Are We On Track for Another
La Niña Winter Like The Last One?

In the cross-hairs of two airstreams again?

Part of this year’s natural hazard disruptions likely had something to do with the La Niña pattern that dominated the atmospheric currents in this hemisphere last winter. That season had unusual cold and snow, followed by a spring that included an early heat wave, then a late increase in the snow pack, then rains, then floods, then sudden summer storms and fires across much of the lower half of the province. The collision over our province of two major jet streams appears to have created these extraordinary weather conditions. And now the same alignment may be in the works again based on a recent La Niña Watch alert from the Climate Prediction Centre. The forecasts are made on sea temperatures and trade wind behaviour currently being observed. Nevertheless, predicting weather three months out is not a reliable science, so things could change. An update on the trends is in the works for later in November. For more information click here.

End of Suspense As
WFCA 2018 Annual Conference Program Announced

Here is an overview of the program high points of next year’s WFCA 2018 Annual Conference, Trade Show and AGM set for Kelowna BC, 7 to 9 February 2018. (This doesn’t mean that there are low points in the program. It means that some points are less level than others, figuratively speaking.)

Wednesday 7 February: The afternoon plenary safety sessions will feature the first showing of our much-anticipated MSI training video introduced by Total Physiotherapy’s Mike McAlanon PT who wrote, produced and is featured in the production. Along with that Okanagan College Researcher and Physiotherapist Darrel Skinner will summarize a tree planting field study completed this year including a demonstration of taping that has proven to reduce the risk of a common form of tenosynovitis. Forestry Safety Advocate Jordan Tesluk will summarize his observations from visiting silviculture camps and crews and talking with workers, supervisors and owners over the 2017 field season.

Thursday 8 February: This day will include panels, plenary presentations and workshops on policy and practice affecting forestry service providers in B.C. The morning panel and audience discussion will feature BC Chief Forester Diane Nicholls, UBC Faculty of Forestry Associate Forestry Professor Lori Daniels and Natural Resource Canada Research Scientist Werner Kurtz discussing the role of BC forest management in mitigating the effects and adapting the province to climate change. Along with the trade show and buffet lunch the afternoon will have UBC Faculty of Forestry Assistant Professor Harry Nelson talking about the possible impacts of our uncertain lumber trade prospects with the United States. BC Wildfire Management Director Ian Meier will present an overview of the exceptional 2017 wild fire season.

Practical workshops the same day will included topics concerning legalizing marijuana and workplace drug programs, the increase in minimum wage in BC, workplace bullying and harassment, therapeutic taping for MSI prevention, and other topics.

We will be announcing our evening banquet speaker closer to the event.

Friday 9 February: will include a summary strategic wrap up session followed by the WFCA AGM adjourning at noon.

Glaring Error in Last RoundUpDate Corrected

Once again we had to rely on the forbearance and patience of our generous readers who pointed out in numerous letters to the editor that in our last edition we had left off an important syllable in the Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Regional Development Minister Doug Donaldson’s name. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We might also point out that considering the length of his ever-increasing ministry portfolio’s name something was bound to get lost sooner or later. Of course there is no excuse for this kind of error in a publication that aspires to satisfy its readers’ expectation of the highest editorial performance at all times. (Just the same there has been an outbreak of scrivener’s palsy in our typesetting and proof reading department that might have contributed to the lapse.) Every effort will be made in the future to properly spell all the names of the people we report on, especially members of Premier Hogan’s Cabinet.