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Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
11 June 2021
Volume 21 Issue 8

Warning: There is no fact warning for this edition other than
this fact warning that there is no fact warning…

BC Interior Spring Plant Winding Up (Down)
Early in Many Parts

There could be an unexpectedly long hiatus between spring and summer planting in B.C. as Interior crews are finishing up ahead of schedule in many parts of the province. This creates a challenge for employers as it likely means workers may have to spend more time mixing with the herd between the end of spring and the start of summer planting jeopardizing their COVID-19-free crew status.

Contractors will meet next week to discuss best practices to restart for the summer planting period beginning early July. British Columbia has almost 60-million hot-lift seedlings to plant between then and the end of August. Following the summer there will remain a few fall coastal trees to bring us to close to 300-million seedlings planted in total for 2021. For the most part crews have remained safe from the virus.

Unfortunately, two companies were jointly involved in a full-blown outbreak including 10 workers, one of whom died. Otherwise out of 4600 workers four other companies did have infected planters on crews. But by following COVID-19 protocols there was no spread of the virus and all workers are back at work. We have had no reports of COVID-19 in any camps operating in Alberta this spring where similar pandemic protocols are in place for planting.

Remembering Planter Jerry Krouzel Who Died
of Workplace COVID

Jerr-Bear, as many of his friends knew him, was a prolific planter
as well as an eccentric, “not just an old gentleman that drove planters around.”

We can now name the exceptional tree planter 79-year-old Jerry Krouzel who died last month after being infected at work with COVID-19. His identity has been released by authorities and followed by CBC news coverage including interviews with his friends and members of his family. Click here to read the full article.

We now have an outline of his extraordinary character and life. We are waiting to find out more about what led to his death. Last month Northern Health issued a closure order and a subsequent declaration of an outbreak on the Quesnel operations of MIKEGROSITE Consulting Ltd. and Dewan Enterprises Ltd. the companies involved with the contract Krouzel was working on. Authorities cited insufficient measures were taken by employers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Both firms were proscribed from working in the Northern Health region for at least 28 days. Meanwhile, WorkSafeBC continues investigations into this incident as well as an ATV crash that seriously injured a MIKEGROSITE worker near Williams Lake. CBC continues its investigations as well. We send our condolences to Jerry’s many friends and his family.

A Short Word About Plastic Flagging: Reduce

Fish biologists brought this profligate use of flagging to our attention after finding it along with hundreds of other generously flagged seedlings in a sensitive fishery riparian zone just this spring. We need to rethink and pay more attention to our use of this pollutant.