Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
16 August 2019
Volume 19 Issue 11
Warning: No facts were harmed in the production of this edition. Nevertheless, some factoids have been straightened but only with the firmness they deserved.
Managing for Wildfire and Updating Stocking Standards Essential to Forest Stewardship Goals
It’s been thirty years since we have made any significant changes to stocking standards along with many other reforestation practices and policies in British Columbia. During that period, we have seen the mountain pine beetle’s devastating assault and its impacts on the short to mid-term timber supply and the value of future harvests. Wildfire has become more rampant at the same time and climate change is just beginning to settle in with its gamut of consequences. This all means two things: it is time to review stocking standards and related reforestation practices and policies; and the dinning will continue from the WFCA on this and other forest stewardship themes. In a recent submission to our government’s timely FRPA review we stated “Whatever were the ideological certainties, animating ideas, assumptions and strategies that informed the original FRPA, they are out of date today.” The WFCA leaned in on some key aspects of that theme in a recent field tour with MFLNRORD Deputy Minister John Allan. While viewing a WUI fuel treatment near Williams Lake and considering the growing and seemingly intractable problem of the costs and effectiveness of fighting wildfires the WFCA pointed out that making more fuel management investments on the landscape now, will in the long run, reduce our wildfire losses and costs. Later, viewing plantations on the same tour, WFCA silviculturalists showed how current stocking standards, particularly regarding lodgepole pine, may be diminishing the value of the future harvest. For the full WFCA FRPA stakeholder review submission click here.
WFCA Annual Business and Market Summit Set for Kamloops 25 September*
2019 Annual Business and Market Summit
Wednesday, September 25th, 2019
9:00am to 3:00pm
Thompson Rivers University Conference Centre
Alpine Room, Campus Activity Centre Building
1055 University Drive
For 2019 reforestation sowing, growing, planning and planting activities will see approximately 270-million seedlings planted. This year and next nurseries are expected to produce more than 300-million seedlings for planting in 2020. Plans in the works, amplified by public investments in forest restoration, carbon sequestration and recent plantation losses to wildfire, show nurseries, planting contractors and consulting foresters have probably another three to five years of high demand with planting programs around 300-million annually. But this sudden bulge in reforestation demand comes with some complications and challenges. Just how certain is the forecasting and how long might the apparent boom last are critical questions. Worker retention and recruitment may present challenges. Just how much work can the sector handle? And what would be the consequences if the reforestation sector fails to sow, grow and plant the trees our government and private sector clients expect? These will all be topics to be reported on and discussed at the upcoming WFCA contractor business and market summit. For more information click here.
*The RoundUpDate’s 28 June edition gave the date as 22 August. That has changed.
TEAAM Reports Forestry Emergency Mission Involving Seriously Injured Worker in Remote Chilcotin
Technical Evacuation Advanced Aero Medical (TEAAM) reports their helicopter emergency medicine service has flown another workplace emergency mission involving a seriously injured tree planter. This recent incident occurred at a remote site in the Chilcotin in July. It follows a few weeks after TEAAM air-lifted an injured planter from a difficult access location near Squamish in early June as reported previously in the RoundUpDate. TEAAM estimates their part in flying to the Chilcotin and later to the appropriate hospital saved approximately four hours of patient travel time by land. It also reduced the chances of the incident leading to a disabling injury. The WFCA is lobbying WorkSafeBC to support this advanced helicopter emergency medicine service for injured resource workers by funding TEAAM on a pilot basis. The purpose would be to determine the effectiveness and benefits of the service for workers and employers, although the WFCA and others think that value is already evident. One of the company owners involved in the Squamish rescue said that “Our investment in the TEAAM patron program was the best safety investment of our career.” It now remains to convince WorkSafeBC of the same.
Rumours That Camp Costs Will be Illegal Next Year
Are Not True
We hear reports that tree planters are expecting camp costs to be illegal next year. They may very well be gone in 2020 for many companies, but this is not likely to come from our government imposing new rules on employers. The WFCA has not taken the position at this point that camp costs should be eliminated by changing tree planting employment standards regulations. Likewise, our government has not indicated an interest in intervening in the sector on this matter. They likely see this as a matter best settled between employers and employees. Considering the competition for competent workers, the market might prove more deft than the heavy hand of legislation when it comes to eliminating camp costs. The fact that, for whatever reasons, many workers are expecting camp costs to be gone next year, may very well be the reason they do.