Late in December 2018 the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) revealed their latest initiative to address public concerns regarding logging waste left on harvested blocks. The change calls for a full waste survey done by a scaler to determine the amount of waste left post-harvest. Previously, the VCF has had a scaler do an ocular estimate backed up with measurements.
The Government initiative is designed to encourage full utilization of all wood fibre by penalizing those companies that do not ship residual waste to a chipping facility, bioenergy plant, pulp mill etc. While that sounds like a reasonable thing to do, it is not practical for isolated communities that do not have access to such facilities. It is not affordable to truck waste wood fibre from this community forest to Prince George.
Ironically it increases the cost of attracting a fibre industry to a small community like Valemount. It directs expenses to a new survey requirement, levies penalties by way of reduction to the (AAC) which affects the logging contractors and takes money away from grassroots economic industry planning initiatives. This Government initiative is designed for larger centres with an existing fibre industry.
The Board and Manager understand the urgent need to address waste fibre and they have been consistently working to find a proponent to build a facility that utilizes this waste wood fibre and provides local employment. Emissions is a challenge to setting up any business on the Valemount Industrial Park (VIP). The Board has decided to set up equipment on the VIP in order to track and prove air quality and emissions to the Ministry of Environment.