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Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
22 March 2019
Volume 19 Issue 4

Warning: Readers of the Latin version of this issue of the RoundUpDate may find some facts lost in translation. Quidam in translatione facta, ut non amissa.

Weather Delays Coast Forestry Field Season Now by a month. What Then the Interior?

Some low elevation blocks on the Coast may be open. But in many places road access is still blocked with snow.

Recent record-breaking temperatures on the Coast may have ended this late winter’s gauntlet of unusually persistent cold and snow in many parts. But it will be a while before spring can put a dent in the snowpack, especially if this accompanying dry spell persists. Even where the sun has warmed away the accumulated snow, shaded roads are still blocked. This is all adding up to a month delay on most of the Coast for forestry activities like engineering, aerial fertilizing and planting. Tree planting may be particularly vulnerable if the Interior freshet start is normal. Since the Coast and Interior planting windows run more or less consecutively the late Coast startup may mean some workers will have to be two places at once. With the sector set to plant 270-million seedings this year, mostly in the Interior, a month delay on the Coast will have some effect downstream in the spring planting window.

Government Expands Wildland Fire Budget and Increases Prescribed Burning — Also Announces BC Wildfire Service Contract Advisory Committee.

Forest Minister Doug Donaldson made a series of wildland fire preparedness announcements this week in Kamloops including BC Wildfire Service’s partnership with the WFCA to strike a contract advisory committee.

Our government has put its imprimatur on the proposed BC Wildfire Service Contract Advisory Committee (WSCAC) as part of its preparations for this year’s wildfire season and its response to the 2018 Abbott-Chapman flood and fire report. Minister Doug Donaldson said the committee, formed in partnership with the WFCA, was intended to ”co-operatively develop procurement processes and allow BC Wildfire Services to work more effectively with the contracting community.” The committee’s steering committee’s letter of intent can be read here. Work is now underway on the collaborative group’s terms of reference to be completed early this spring. To read the government press release click here.

BC Timber Sales Contract Advisory Committee Delivers One Percent Rate Increase on Option to Renew Contracts—Other Objectives in the Works

Effective April 1 of this year all new BCTS options to renew (OTR) contracts will allow for a one percent increase to unit prices per OTR term. The directive does not include the back-dating of rates in current OTR contracts or any renewals to current OTR contracts. The announcement follows work undertaken by the BC Timber Sales Contract Advisory Committee (BCAC). Other work under consideration includes expanding the continuous bid deposit (CBD) scheme to multi-phase contracts. A decision is expected later this spring.

Earlier this year BCAC announced the expansion of the CBD to all silviculture solicitations, but specified that financial performance securities will still be required on contracts. The exception to this is the BCTS planting contract where successful bidders don’t post a financial performance security. Instead they risk having their bidding eligibility suspended for failing to meet their contract obligations. BCAC is weighing the consequences of using a similar method with other silviculture contracts. But the practice may have unintended consequences considering that suspending a firm’s eligibility to bid on work in a region, or across the province, could put some small or regional operators out of business. BCTS intends to poll bidders on the scheme this spring and summer.