Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

Forestry Rejuvenation Strategy Update

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The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality has been very active on working to support economic opportunities for the region, especially with regard to revitalizing the local forest industry.  Below is a summary of some of the key actions that are currently underway.

 

Aspen Study Phase II

The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality is involved in a long-term Aspen Initiative with FP Innovations (FPI), a not-for-profit that specializes in the creation of innovative scientific solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness.[i] The study will ultimately lead to sustainable business and economic activity in the Northern Rockies from the commercially underutilized aspen resource. Phase 1A of this study was funded equally between the NRRM and the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT).[ii]

 

Fibre Supply Analysis and Technology Deployment

The initial stages of the Aspen Initiative Phase II involve a Fibre Supply Analysis and Technology Deployment (sawmill and veneer yield results), with $100,000 in in-kind contributions from FP Innovations and a maximum $75,000 from the NRRM. For the sawmilling/veneer trials, some work (sawmilling) was done locally and some specialized trials were completed in Fruitvale (Atco Industries).   This harvesting and processing effort was completed over a period of 18 months, and provided data with regard to yields and grade recovery.

Harvest Information:

  • 30 trees from 10 sites
  • 450 cubic metres harvest:  69% saw logs, 21% veneer logs and 10% pulp

The trial results were encouraging, producing laminated veneer lumber (LVL) with higher-than-normal non-destructive stress grades (“G”).

 

Market Study  

Conducted by Forest Economic Advisors (FEA) and using funding from the BC Rural Dividend Fund program, this preliminary market study is examining potential products and markets. Investigations are aimed primarily at the value-added side of the forest industry such as oriented strand board (OSB) siding, engineered lumber (LSL - laminated strand lumber, OSL – oriented strand lumber, LVL - laminated veneer lumber,) and other proprietary OSB products like Scrimtec©. FEA is also including data gathered from contact with potential investors.

 

Forestry Industry Investors

Discussions with several potential investors (both foreign and domestic) are ongoing. The NRRM has been very active lobbying senior levels of government and connecting potential investors with BC regulators.  Significant staff and Council time has been allocated to assist with information gathering, as the interested parties work toward making their final investment decision.

 

Fort Nelson Community Forest

The joint Fort Nelson Community Forest Agreement (CFA) application by the NRRM and FNFN is a comprehensive process that is still in the preparation stages. An update on the CFA project will be available soon.

 

Boreal Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan

The Boreal Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan (BCRIP) has the potential to severely impact resource development in the Northern Rockies, and the Municipality continues to advocate for judicious selection of the caribou “protection/restoration” areas.

 

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) has agreed to conduct a socio-economic impact study that is targeted for completion in Summer 2018. The Ministry will be meeting with BCRIP biologists, the NRRM and NRRM consultant, Stantec in mid-January 2018.

 

Derek Nighbor of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is well versed in the caribou issue and represents a similar position to that of the Municipality. He has proposed a presentation to Regional Council in the early Spring, which will examine the socio-economic impacts as well the unsettled matters of scientific importance. Mr. Nighbor has also expressed an interest in making a presentation to the public during his visit.  The gathering of this data is critical to formation of well-considered rebuttals during the final selection of the caribou restoration and protection areas.

 

Fort Nelson Timber Supply Review (TSR)

The Chief Forester of BC established the Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) determination that we have in place today (1,625,000 m3) in the 2006  Timber Supply Review 3 (TSR3).

 

A new Timber Supply Review 4 was initiated in 2016 and will likely not be completed until Q1 – 2019. The delay relates to a shortage of capacity devoted to the project. This is vital information required by investors in forestry in the NRRM. The impacts of Boreal Caribou protection area wills will have a significant impact of the AAC determination.

 



[i] FPInnovations website, “Our Work”

[ii] Knudson, Tofte, Wong and Chow, “Aspen Utilization in the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality: Preliminary Sampling of Aspen Log Quality”, March 2017

   

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