Log shortage halts work for many in British Columbia
Arnold Bercov, president of the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada Local 8, is very concerned that shipping raw logs out of British Columbia is coming at a cost to many local mills.
Bercov said he was informed by Western Forest Products that their Ladysmith mill is one of several mills on Vancouver Island that will be down for at least a week due to low inventories of logs.
Meanwhile, Island Timberlands, next door to the Ladysmith mill, is busy loading raw logs onto ships. Those logs will be processed at a mill overseas, rather than at home in British Columbia.
The exportation of raw logs is keeping some mills working, but is that at the cost of other mills? “You can’t say we’re in a recovery on one hand while allowing the export of raw logs that is causing our mills to close again on the other,” said Bercov. Bercov acknowledges that the wood Island Timberlands is exporting is likely a lower grade and not of use to the Ladysmith mill, yet he emphased that “No wood should be leaving the Island unprocessed.”.
Rick Jeffery, chairman and CEO of the Coast Forest Products Association, said only 3% of all harvested wood is shipped offshore, and that is only if the logs are in surplus of domestic needs.
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Union, workers are frustrated as log shortage halts work (The Daily News)