Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
22 October 2021
Volume 21 Issue 13

Warning: Some of the facts in this edition appear as visual information which may lead to brain activity different from the concentration normally required for reading.

FRPA Amendments Progress to Improving
Forest Stewardship in BC

This week Forests Minister Katrine Conroy introduced amendments to the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) that will enable significant changes to the priorities and processes that direct forest and range management in British Columbia. The Forest Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 23), now in First Reading, is part of our BC government’s legislative strategy to improve resource and lands stewardship through changes to FRPA. The original Act introduced in 2002 reflected the then government’s intention to move towards “results-based management.” But bias towards timber production, ambiguity around environmental objectives, diminished trust in professional reliance, and the advent of the mountain pine beetle assault, wildfire disasters, and climate change left FRPA short of the kinds of results, our Government felt that British Columbians and their landscapes needed. Integral to improving strategies and operations is forest landscape planning; an inclusive approach that considers how ecosystems connect over large swathes of land and long stretches of time. The clear and detailed shape of how these changes will be implemented will come with the development of supporting regulation as the next step after Bill 23 has Royal Assent. Meanwhile, the WFCA will continue its work on Minister Conroy’s Public Advisory Committee which has contributed to the current amendments. Read more here.

Supply Chain Gaps May Mean Running Older Trucks:
If You Can Find Them

Mercury Blues, well more like Mercury Browns. This Merc’ pickup may need more than an inspection. But contractors may not be replacing their rolling stock as quickly these days, meaning their older trucks may need attention to remain safe on the road.

With the 2021 planting season only freshly in the rear-view mirror, contractors are now making plans for 2022. However, supply-chain problems and the global shortage of semiconductor chips are casting uncertainty on the availability of the trucks that will be needed to keep the industry rolling. In some cases, 2021 models are sold out and 2022 models are on back-order until uncertain points in the spring. Companies unable to secure new fleets may look either to holding onto older vehicles longer than usual or potentially renting vehicles from new sources and in some cases, from employees.

There are important safety considerations in this situation. Companies holding onto vehicles longer than usual will need to verify that their maintenance programs are sufficient for keeping their trucks in safe operating condition. Parts that may not have worn out on 3-year old units, may reach their serviceable lifespan after 4 or 5 years. In the case of renting trucks from other parties, employers must still take steps to ensure that such vehicles are properly maintained, and it may be necessary to require employees to provide appropriate insurance and proof-of-inspection prior to using their vehicles in the workplace. Employers should also ensure that any employees driving their own vehicles or carrying crew members to work have proper training and experience for this task.

After Summer Drought, Heat Dome, and Wildfire;
Fall Follows With Bomb Cyclones, and Atmospheric Rivers

A remarkable fetch of moisture heads our way this week vividly portrayed
on the weather blog The Convergence Zone

Last weekend parts of the BC Coast saw more rain overnight than it might normally see in weeks. As the map above shows another bruising storm is hitting our continent as we head into our fall storm season in this part of the Pacific. The Jetstream, supercharged with moisture as it is now, or flaccid with heat or cold as we saw over summer and last winter, seems to be fluctuating between extremes. One small consolation is that this kind of weather has generated some stunning maps by Alicia M. Bentley an Honorary Volunteer in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University at Albany. We found her work on the fascinating Pacific North West climate science blog The Convergence Zone, a volunteer project dedicated to addressing the impact of extreme weather and climate change on underserved populations and framing policy recommendations through a lens of social justice and equity.