January 27, 2023 By P&PC Staff
Forestry workers and communities throughout the province will benefit from the recently announced provincial funding for the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) to increase fibre supply aimed at keeping people working and local mills running, while also mitigating wildfire risks and reducing climate emissions.
“We know that access to fibre is one of the most critical challenges facing the industry and we’re working hard to find new sources,” said Premier David Eby. “The projects funded through the Forest Enhancement Society of BC will help us get more fire-damaged wood and logging waste to the mills that need it. At the same time, forestry contractors will have more work hauling fibre that would otherwise be too remote or costly to access. This also supports our CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 and our continued focus on getting more well-paying jobs from our forests.”
With an investment of $50 million from the province, FESBC will expand funding for projects and programs that increase the use of low-value or residual fibre, including trees damaged by recent wildfires and waste left over from logging that would otherwise be burned in slash piles.
“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a proven partner in delivering projects on the ground that benefit communities, workers, and the health of our forests,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “Forestry is – and will remain – a foundation of B.C.’s economy. As market prices have declined, forestry workers should know that government has their backs. That’s why we are taking action today and providing increased funding to get more fibre to the mills that need it.”
Renewed and increased funding for FESBC meets a key recommendation of the Pulp and Paper Coalition to keep mills operating and protect forestry jobs. It builds on recent action by the province to increase the flow of fibre to the sector, including:
- re-instating the Fibre Recovery Zone on the coast;
- creating new Wildfire Salvage Opportunity Agreements; and
- establishing a pulp fibre supply task force with industry.
FESBC is a Crown agency. It was established in 2016 to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by:
- preventing wildfires and mitigating wildfire impacts;
- improving damaged or low-value forests;
- improving wildlife habitat;
- supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests; and
- treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases.
“This is a major positive step towards resolving the single biggest issue the B.C. forest sector is currently facing: lack of economic fibre. It is supported by work that government and industry have completed since the fall of last year through the Pulp Fibre Supply Task Force. Salvaging fire-damaged stands and logging waste will result in significant environmental and social benefits for the Province. As well, it will help current mills remain running, and paves the way for major investment in B.C. that the pulp and paper sector wishes to pursue, to ensure it remains cost competitive and accelerates the shift into new value-added products,” said Joe Nemeth, manager of the Pulp and Paper Coalition.
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