Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
9 November 2018
Volume 18 Issue 17

Warning: All facts contained in this edition are immutable for the duration of their life expectancy.

It’s the Preseason to the Season Before the 2019 Conference Season: So We Start Promoting our WFCA 2019 Annual Conference, Tradeshow and AGM

The WFCA 2019 Annual Conference, Trade Show and AGM will be held in Victoria at the end of January. (Parts of the city may not look exactly as replicated in the above image.)

Let’s first thank our Department of Redundancy Department for that headline. But it is time to talk about the WFCA 2019 conference and trade show. It’s at the end of next January in that time in the 2019 new year when so many other forest associations hold their yearly conferences like the Truck Loggers’ Association 16-18 January in Vancouver and the Association of BC Forest Professionals 6-8 February in Kamloops. We are in the middle of them in Victoria from 30 January to 1 February. So we need to get the word out (or in?) now, so you can make plans to attend our annual event.

This year’s epic conference theme is Forestry Contracting in the New Normal. That means we are going to look at climate change, labour challenges, professional reliance, industry consolidation, wildfire impacts, work place safety and other pressing factors that will shape how we do business in this changing world and the new circumstances that go with it. We are just now putting the final pieces in place for our 2019 conference program. It will include some of the brighter lights in the political and bureaucratic constellations that determine our government’s priorities, expert panelists from industry, academia and agencies, subject matter experts on workplace safety and all accessible to our audience in panel presentations, plenary sessions and workshops. Along with all that we will have our trade show with our industry suppliers and the WFCA AGM for our members. Stay tuned for all the details, or visit our conference page to register now!

Boustrophedon-Style Planting May See the End of Seedling Tagging with Plastic Flagging

Hikers are finding it. Cattle and wild ungulates eat it. Like other single-use plastics, plastic flagging’s days may be numbered.

Did we just use the word boustrophedon? It means to move (write, plough etc.) left to right, then right to left in alternating lines. That’s how planters often work to fill in an area with seedlings. To keep track they tag their trees with bright plastic flagging. The practice has been around for decades and just how many tons of plastic tree planting has left on the landscape is not a figure we would want to publish if we knew it. Resistant to bio-degrading quickly, plastic bits persist on the landscape for years. Besides littering, it’s shown up in the guts of calves and other ungulate browsers and grazers. Cattlemen and wildlife biologists have been joined by a citizen’s group in recent appeals to our government to reduce the use of plastic flagging in forestry. Alternative fabrics that could replace plastics come at a higher cost. Finding just how high is one of the tasks of a contractor working group focusing on the topic. As published previously in the RoundUpDate the WFCA has begun to look for bio-degradable materials for flagging and seedling packaging. WFCA has only had preliminary talks with MFLNRORD and BCTS, but given the widespread trend to discourage single-use plastics, we seem to be on track for a significant reduction in their use, if not their elimination, for planting projects. The WFCA plastics reduction working group is developing a strategy to be presented at next year’s WFCA 2019 annual conference. As part of that process we are soliciting advice and comments from licensee foresters, consultant foresters, planting contractors and seedling producers to help reduce single-use plastics in forestry.

WFCA Proposes HEMS Industrial Ambulance Pilot for Parts of Coast and South West Interior

TEAAM’s HEMS model can deliver initial emergency medicine to treat an injured worker on a remote site then extract the patient and execute transportation to hospital.

It’s now approaching two years since BC Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris presented his 2017 Report on Helicopter Emergency Medical Services in B.C. Still there has been no clear signals from our government as to whether it intends to adopt any of his recommendations to improve health care outcomes in rural British Columbia. In the meantime the general chances of forest workers injured in remote or difficult to access workplaces—which is where the impetus for the report originated—remain about the same. The WFCA, acting on a recommendation from the BC SAFE Forestry Program, is now proposing a HEMS industrial ambulance service pilot for the south west coast and interior region. Proposed to operate at an advanced standard of care it would be able to rescue and transport forest workers injured on remote or difficult access sites in much shorter time than current arrangements. It would also be able to deliver emergency medicine treatment at the site to reduce pain and better stabilize patients. The proposed pilot would involve participation in the Squamish-based Technical Evacuation Advance Aero Medical (TEAAM) patronage program. TEAAM, a non-profit group, launched itself last spring with startup funding and a strong commitment of volunteer time from its team of rescue techs, paramedics and doctors. The WFCA proposal is to round up enough paying patrons—initial dues are based on a per-worker basis—from the region’s resource sector actors to help sustain TEAAM on a pilot basis. Depending on the outcomes of that experiment more enduring funding could be found and the program expanded. One encouraging sign is TEAAM recently performed its first mission this fall and by all accounts they played a critical role in the prompt treatment and transportation of a seriously injured worker. The employer involved was a patron of the TEAAM program and the WFCA’s goal is to increase the number of companies signed up. To find out more about the TEAAM patronage program go to www.teaam.ca/patronage-program