DECEMBER 2014 â€˘ VOL. 1, ISSUE 9
Consulting DWB proves mixing it up works in Northwest B.C.
Corridor completion opens doors for massive growth
Terrace groups split $100,000 in profits
Going Green Smithers firm takes clean energy to the world
Log Living Turning lumber into homes in Fraser Lake
The public in Kitimat gather for an information and feedback session about LNG Canada’s then-forthcoming EAO application.
Project Benefits LNG Canada has set out to be the project of choice for British Columbia and to ensure benefits from the project flow to the local communities: benefits not only in the form of employment during construction and long-term operational jobs, but millions of dollars in taxes for local communities, the addition of billions to B.C.’s gross domestic product, but with several more million spent on goods and services. The benefits are real, and to realize them, one part of the puzzle will be connecting people and businesses to project opportunities. “On the local benefits side, one of the biggest things that we’re trying to do is ensure people are aware of what the opportunities are,” said Joan Goldhawk, Senior Advisor for local content. “You can’t take advantage of something you don’t know about.” Goldhawk’s role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, from local contracting and business capacity development to employment and workforce development. “The whole purpose is to look at how the areas we operate in can be a part of, and take advantage of, the opportunities that are there,” she said. Some of the things the company does, she said, is to inform small businesses about how to work with LNG Canada, such as the company’s contracting processes, pre-qualifications and safety requirements. The company, as part of their recent environmental assessment application to the BC Environmental Assessment Agency, said that more than $8 billion will be spent on goods and services in Canada during construction. At least $3 billion of that is expected to be spent in B.C. alone. In addition, $200 million may be spent per year on goods and services bought from B.C. suppliers for an operational facility. From that total, LNG Canada projects at least $85 million spent in the northwest B.C. The demand for a workforce will be large too, with an employment average of 4,500 people during the first phase of construction, up to a potential of 7,500 people. For operations, 300 to 450 people will be employed in the first phase, up to perhaps 800 for a full build out of four trains. “We sure want people who are local to take advantage of that,” said Goldhawk. The company have already invested in scholarships for students to look at trades training. This space is a collaborative promotional venture by LNG Canada and N2K Editor Cameron Orr
“The grade 8 students of today are our engineers during operations,” she noted. LNG Canada say they will hold their own contractors to the same standards they follow too. “We have what’s called a contractor local implementation plan,” she said. “What that is is every contractor who works on our project will have a contractual requirement to participate in local content…As they’re bidding on projects it is our expectation that they will also carry this same methodology forward to hire local first to ensure that local people can participate.” Most of the contracting and employment opportunities through construction will be through the project’s main contractor, CFSW LNG Constructors, the company says, which is the contracting partnership of Chiyoda, Foster Wheeler, SAIPEM, and Worley Parsons. CFSW has also made commitments to connecting local people and businesses to work within the project. Meanwhile the company has also invested in other community-building initiatives, such as their participation in the Kitimat River CleanUp, hosted by the recycling group Kitimat Understanding the Environment (KUTE), and with participation in Riverboat Days in Terrace.
Joan Goldhawk, senior advisor for local content with LNG Canada.
Will LNG harm marine life? No — it ﬂoats and evaporates very quickly. LNG is twice as buoyant as water so it stays on the surface. As it warms, it quickly turns back into natural gas and disappears completely.
What would be left behind? Nothing — the liqueﬁed natural gas would evaporate completely. In fact, LNG has been used commercially to ﬂash-freeze meat because it works quickly and disappears without leaving a hint of after taste.
What about our beaches? Even in a major spill, our beaches and our seafood would safe.our LNGbeaches? quickly warms above -160 Celsius What be about and rapidly turns back into naturaland gasour — the same Even in a major spill, our beaches seafood natural gas that many BC families use safely every day to would be safe. LNG quickly warms above -160 Celsius heat their homes and into cooknatural their dinners. and rapidly turns back gas — the same natural gas that many BC families use safely every day to heat their homes and cook their dinners.
Working closely with First Nations and local communities, BG Canada is considering a proposed LNG project on Ridley Island. For more information, visit www.princerupertlng.ca or come by our local ofﬁce at 610 2nd Avenue West, Prince Rupert, BC. You can also call us at 250-624-4914.
Publisher Todd Hamilton Editor-in-Chief Shaun Thomas Prince Rupert Ed Evans, Sales Lisa Thomas, Sales Martina Perry, Reporter Terrace Rod Link, Editor Brian Lindenbach, Sales Bert Husband, Sales Erin Bowker, Sales Kitimat Louisa Genzale, Sales Cameron Orr, Editor Smithers Grant Harris, Sales Nick Briere, Sales Chris Gareau, Editor Alicia Bridges, Reporter Houston Mary-Anne Ruiter, Sales Jackie Lieuwen, Reporter Burns Lake Laura Blackwell, Sales Flavio Nienow, Editor Fort St. James/ Vanderhoof Pam Berger, Sales Jessie Cole, Reporter Rebecca Watson, Reporter Haida Gwaii Jennifer Bailey, Sales Laura Bishop, Reporter N2K CONTACT INFO:
Vanderhoof Fort St. James Burns Lake Houston Smithers Terrace Kitimat Prince Rupert Haida Gwaii
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N2K is a Black Press publication mailed or delivered by carrier to 33,500 homes and businesses throughout Northwest B.C. Our Head Office is located at: 737 Fraser Street, Prince Rupert, B.C., V8J 1R1 250-624-8088 Fax: 250-624-8085
ll too often the positive is overshadowed by the negative. Headlines and soundbites seem overwhelmingly dominated by what’s not working rather than what is. Opposition seems to trump agreement, failure receives more attention than success. This isn’t anything new. In fact it is, sadly, human nature. Our mandate at N2K is to offer an alternative. We want to trumpet success and highlight agreement. One such agreement is that of the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission (PRGT) project and the Nisga’a Lisims Government. N2K editor-in-chief Shaun Thomas reports on the recently signed benefits agreement between PRGT and the Nisga’a Lisims government. As both signatories note in Thomas’ article, the negotiated agreement is a balanced approach and provides longterm benefits to the Nisga’a Nation. A true win-win scenario. Our cover story by Burns Lake’s Flavio Nienow shows how homegrown companies, both big and small, are adapting and embracing new ways. The latter years of the last decade was particularly damaging to the Northwest B.C. economy. In 2008, DWB Consulting came to the realization, as many others did, that relying on just one sector was challenging and began to diversify. That diversification has led to an incredible success story that we are pleased to bring to our readers. Again, unfortunately, all too often Northwest B.C. industry is painted with a far-too-wide, all-encompassing brush. This region is leading in new technologies, new practices and new ways of thinking. N2K reporter, Alicia Bridges highlights one such example in her story on Egenolf Alternative Energy. Smithers couple John and Angelika Egenolf are actively working on renewable energy solutions in the Bulkley Valley ranging from cars fueled by canola oil or electricity, hybrid solar-diesel generators to heating powered by wood chips. This is just one of many examples of the increasingly positive nature of Northwest B.C. industry featured in this issue of N2K. We hope you enjoy. Todd Hamilton N2K Publisher email@example.com
Out-of-area subscriptions now available e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org View our e-version for free at: www.thenorthernview.com/eeditions
Volume 1 • Issue 9
OPENING RIDLEY RRUC creates new opportunity 6
FUELING GROWTH Vanderhoof Co-op looks to the future 10
FORESTRY FUNDING Groups benefit from $100,000 profit 12
ELECTRIC LNG LNG Canada inks deal with Hydro 14
HEALTHY START TransCanada funds school breakfast 15
CHARTER TRIANGLE HeliJet eyes Kitimat heliport 19
DIVERSE DEMAND DWB thrives through variety 20
NISGA’A BENEFITS Nation signs LNG benefits deal 22
LUMBER LIVING Log homes start in Fraser Lake 24
INDUSTRY LANDS SEA TO SKY Chinese eye growth Inland Air reaches near airport site 26 the unreachable 28
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Prince Rupert Port Authority photo
$90 million investment could lead to billions in development By Shaun Thomas
fter more than 22 months of construction, the Prince Rupert Port Authority is wrapping up work on the Ridley Island Road, Rail and Utility Corridor (RRUC), a $90 million investment that will facilitate billions of dollars in future development on the North Coast. The RRUC includes construction of three inbound and two outbound rail track surrounding the entirety of the island as well as 14 kilometres of road access. In terms of utilities, the project saw the installation of a new 69kV transmission line to power the far end of the island, a new water main and the extension of existing fibre optic cables. While the completion of the project is significant in and of itself, it’s the opportunities created by the RRUC that have industry across Canada turning their eyes to Prince Rupert. “I think it is vitally important. In some ways this is similar to the main rail line being installed across Canada at the turn of the century ... this first phase links the resource centre of Canada with export out of Canada. We have capacity now for 10 to 20 million
“In some ways this is similar to the main rail ine being installed across Canada at the turn of the century.” - Travis Bernhardt tonnes of cargo that can move from virtually any point in Canada to the coast and be shipped out of here,” said Travis Bernhardt, Prince Rupert Port Authority manager of project engineering. “Ridley Island has been divided into different parcels that, while not taken, have been assigned. There is no land on Ridley Island that is free or available any more. The corridor is one of the important pillars of this 2020 vision,” added Emil Tomescu, director of project engineering and asset maintenance. See Page 7
Prince Rupert Port Authority photo
Designing for the community Despite the scope of the project and the massive economic benefits it could bring to the region, the Prince Rupert Port Authority cut no corners when it came to ensuring the RRUC did not interfere with the quality of life for people in Prince Rupert and neighbouring Port Edward, located just across Porpoise Harbour from all of the construction. One of the major design elements, the rail line surrounding Ridley Island, was specifically built to reduce noise from the dozens of trains that will be making their way to the island every day should any number of projects proceed. “Rather than using joint and rail, which the coal and grain terminal have where pieces of rail are mechanically fastened and bolted together, our rail loop, from the time a train enters our loop to the time it exits, is essentially one continuous rail. Part of that is that it eliminates the gaps between the jointed rail that produces that click-clack noise that is synonymous with train traffic. This eliminates that and was a mitigation measure to limit the amount of noise impact we would have to surrounding communities,” said Bernhardt. “The design elevations of our rail loop are such that the rail receiving areas are higher than anywhere else to the train remains in tension as it’s going through, so you don’t get the knuckling that happens when you’re shunting cars back and forth.” Given the 24-hour operation schedule of export terminals, Bernhardt said light from the site was very
“You wouldn’t be able to undertake something like this without having that community support” - Travis Bernhardt much top of mind. “The lighting that was put in for the rail loop is all dark-sky fixtures that don’t cast a lot of light off of the site,” he explained. “We have also put in a lot of controls and timers that limit how long lights are on. The lights that are there for rail car examination, they get switched on when the engineer goes to do the examination and they are on a timer so that when the three hour exam is complete the lights go out.”
Building capacity By the numbers, the RRUC is one of the largest projects undertaken in recent history in the Northwest. All told, 135,000 cubic metres of wood waste and fuel was removed, 840,000 cubic metres of overburden was excavated and disposed of and 1.78 million cubic metres of solid rock material was either placed as fill or processed. See Page 8
Prince Rupert Port Authority photo
To put it in perspective, a typical dump truck constitutes five cubic metres of rock and the muskeg that was removed during construction would stand taller than Prince Rupert’s 17-storey Highliner Plaza if it were all piled up. That kind of work requires a fairly significant workforce and the number of people on the site peaked at 250 — a workforce that was almost entirely made up of workers from the North Coast region hired by two joint ventures involving First Nations bands in the Prince Rupert area. “Prince Rupert Constructors, the contractor that did the bulk of the project, they were a joint venture between a few existing construction firms and the Coast Tsimshian. For the most part, all of their labour would have been from the local community. Their program was they brought in supervisory and training staff to oversee the project and then trained up locals in all of the equipment they had on site,” said Bernhardt. “Coast Industrial Construction, the Kitkatla joint venture, worked similarly in that they would bring in workers, start them out on a small piece of equipment and then work them through the 40-tonne rock trucks, the excavators, the graders and the dozers. The result is that most of the people who worked on this project actually had an opportunity to work with virtually every piece of equipment that was out there.” Having local companies and First Nations involved and creating capacity among the people of the North Coast is something Bernhardt said was critical to the success of the RRUC. “In this day and age, you wouldn’t be able to undertake something like this without having that community support.
“This is probably something that could not have been achieved a number of years ago.” - Michael Gurney It’s important that everyone in the region has an opportunity to benefit from this. It is one of the reasons we were able to get this project done on time and on budget, we had the buyin from locals,” he said. “People were excited to come to work and see some change for the good in the area.” The fact that this $90 million project, funded through a partnership between the Prince Rupert Port Authority, CN Rail and the provincial and federal governments, was completed on-time and on-budget using local labour sends a message to the world about just how far the region has come. “It really shows that the port community in Prince Rupert has grown to a point where it is sophisticated enough and well-resourced enough to allow projects of this type to proceed. This is probably something that could not have been achieved a number of years ago,” said Michael Gurney, Prince Rupert Port Authority manager of corporate communication. See Page 9
Prince Rupert Port Authority photo “When you undertake large projects, the big question is where you are going to get the resources from in terms of the whole spectrum of professions and expertise. That is a big piece. I think the fact that these developments are happening creates so much opportunity for people to get training and eventually embark on a different lifestyle ... that can link into the next development projects,” added Tomescu.
“There is no land on Ridley Island that is free or available any more.”
Only the beginning
much quicker once another terminal player is ready to go for development,” explained Bernhardt. “This is a project where you basically had to design out a master plan and then scale it back to what we were going to build at this time. That makes it a little bit different than a project where you go out and build three inbound track and two outbound tracks and call it a day, that you’re not going to build anything ever again.” Opening up Ridley Island for major industrial development has been a vision of government for decades, and now that vision is within reach. But the completion of the Road, Rail and Utility Corridor does more than open up the island, it marks a turning point for the Port of Prince Rupert. It shows the world that the North Coast has the capability and the capacity to construct a major port-related infrastructure project and deliver it on time and on budget. N2K
The completion of the RRUC is a game-changer for the Port of Prince Rupert when it comes to developing the island, but Bernhardt says it is important to note this is only the first phase of a vision that could grow to include 14 inbound track and 10 outbound tracks, an increase of 11 inbound and eight outbound tracks. It’s a project that was designed with the big picture in mind, something that can be added to at any point in time. “The idea is that it would be built on an as-required basis. We do have agreements in place for all of the island in terms of its development and, as those developments work their way through the environmental process and the design process, they get to a point where it is likely they will move forward. That would trigger us to go out and begin construction ... by having some of the infrastructure already there, it means the next phase of construction happens that
- Emil Tomescu
Jesse Cole photo
Vanderhoof Co-op seeing unprecedented expansion By Jesse Cole
he Vanderhoof and Districts Co-op embodies the phrase “from rags to riches.” The regional cooperative began as a humble eggpooling station in Vanderhoof, B.C. 70 years ago and has since turned itself into a nearly quarter of a billion dollar company. Since the 1940s a lot has changed for the cooperative — Vanderhoof and District Co-op now offers a range of services far beyond simple egg pooling, with services running the gamut from cardlocks, gas stations and building supplies to grocery stores and agricultural supplies. They have over a dozen locations ranging from Quesnel in the south to Fort St. James in the north, Terrace in the west and Valemont in the east. The Vanderhoof and District Co-op has evolved into a regional heavyweight in the north and they have no plans of slowing down. With the intention to expand into Smithers, B.C. within the next year and after that set up a presence further south in the Williams Lake area the company is experiencing considerable growth both physically and financially. Allan Bieganski, the general manager of Vanderhoof and District’s Co-op, says that in the last 20 years the company’s annual sales have skyrocketed, “At one point in time, 15 or 20 years ago, we were only selling $25 to 30 million a year, now we’re a $240 million company,” he said. Bieganksi said that the company is continuing to grow at fast rates saying that within the next couple of years the company is expected to hit the $250 million mark annually. It’s a growth that Bieganski attributes to a number of
factors including the industry boom. “It’s the industry boom; logging business and increased mining among other commercial business and activity,” he said. But it’s not just the economic boom in the north that’s contributing to Vanderhoof and District Co-op’s success. As Bieganski puts it, it’s their commitment to the region. “We’re also a local company. It’s local businesses and individuals that are involved in a local company whose profits aren’t going somewhere back east or into the United States, they’re staying in our local B.C. economy where we’re spending the money,” he says. Giving back is an essential part of the cooperative culture and Vanderhoof and Districts Co-op has made giving back to their members an important part of their business model. “That’s our biggest marketing point, the other firms have air miles, or other rewards systems - our system is paying in cash, returning the profits that we make back to our membership. We do that in a two stage process, first we allocate or do a dividend to their [members] share account and based on our cash-flow, then we pay out so much in cash each year.” Bieganski says that over the last decade, Vanderhoof and Districts Co-op has paid out, in cash, around $42.8 million to its member base. With its cash back incentives, low membership costs and locals-first appeal, the Vanderhoof and Districts Co-op has become a hometown hero of sorts that community members take pride in being a part of. Their reputation has helped to facilitate their growth. See Page 11
But with growth comes increased strain on the company’s assets and resources. However, Vanderhoof and District Co-op remains proactive in renewing and replacing their assets and adding to them as well. “We believe in keeping our assets modern and up to date,” said Bieganski. “In the last number of years we’re averaging anywhere from $3 to $5 million a year in new assets.” As a company that is based in a region where vast swaths of land lay between hubs, shipping is an important part of the company’s mandate and with increased expansion new problems arise. To deal with this Vanderhoof and District Co-op has implanted a fleet of petroleum delivery trucks to deliver fuel to customers as well as created their own card-lock fuelling stations which are available to all members, commercial, individuals or otherwise. “We’re trying to make sure we have our card-locks located in the right places,” said Bieganski. The growth that Vanderhoof and District Co-op is experiencing in a time when many companies are consolidating, has allowed them to branch out and look at other areas of specialization as well. “Our primary focus is on food, fuel, hardware and building supplies as well as agricultural supplies, that’s our core business. However, we have to make sure that as other opportunities become available we evaluate them based on their merits,” said Bieganksi. That attitude is characteristic of what has allowed
Vanderhoof and District Co-op to flourish and remain relevant in a difficult marketplace. “Everything comes down to the financial dollars and cents,” Bieganski said adding that Vanderhoof and District Co-op wants to remain progressive and take advantage of marketing opportunities as they become available. “We never want to become a stagnant company that never grows.”
Thank you for your feedback We have recently submitted a proposed design mitigation to our regulators. The proposed marine infrastructure includes a combined suspension bridge and trestle next to Flora Bank to reach naturally deep water in Chatham Sound.
• Our improved design would eliminate dredging at our marine terminal. • The suspension bridge would reduce infrastructure next to Flora Bank. • This updated design reﬂects feedback we heard from local First Nations, community members and stakeholders.
This rendering is of our proposed LNG facility and marine terminal on Lelu Island. www.PaciﬁcNorthWestLNG.com
Rod Link photo
Terrace groups benefit from $100,000 profits By Rod Link
or the second year in a row a logging company owned by the City of Terrace has generated a profit which has been turned over to community groups. In doing so, the Terrace Community Forest, using tenure obtained by the province, meets two objectives – helping those groups and contributing to the local economy. This year’s profits, $100,000 divided between 11 groups and a large jump over the $30,000 distributed the year before, are the fruits of a business and logging model adopted nearly a decade ago. “What we do is selective logging,” explains Kim Haworth, the manager of the community forest and its only full time employee. “We can generate money by commercial thinning, selling what we log, but also leaving a large volume behind to regenerate for future logging,” he said. At an annual cut rate of 30,000 cubic metres, the amount logged is the equivalent of approximately 600 logging trucks, making the Terrace Community Forest one of the largest of its kind in the province. That it also produces a profit for distribution to
“We generate money by commercial thinning.” - Kim Haworth community groups follows a City of Terrace plan to eventually wean those groups off of asking the city itself for financial assistance. Haworth said the company has harvested approximately 115,000 cubic metres of wood with an economic value of $5.7 million. “And that goes right to local companies,” he said. The community forest company uses Timber Baron as its logging contractor, an arrangement that includes trucking logs to transport points, and Little Trees for silviculture work. See Page 13
Sales are handled by All West Trading and the logs are exported to China. â€œWe just donâ€™t have a domestic market,â€? said Haworth of the logs that are cut. â€œSkeena Sawmills cannot take a small diameter log and we just canâ€™t ship them to the interior.â€? Haworth describes the kind of thinning thatâ€™s done as form of farming. â€œWhat we are concentrating on now is biodiversity, taking trees so that all kinds of plant species â€“ and animals â€“ can thrive,â€? he said. The benefit to the trees that are left is that they arenâ€™t competing for sunlight or nutrients. â€œAs soon as you space, you open up the forest. Youâ€™re not smothering the understory,â€? said Haworth. â€œYou may not make as much of a return as opposed to clearcutting because you are leaving half the volume, but you are always logging. Thatâ€™s the key,â€? said Haworth. To date, logging has gone on in the Shames/ Amesbury area near the Shames Mountain ski hill, Deep Creek north of Terrace and the Kitimat Valley south of Terrace. The decision as to how profits are divided falls to a committee made up of representatives of the community forestâ€™s board, city council and city administrators. Haworth said the goal is to finance groups who either use or are active on the regional land base.
â€œPutting money into groundbased projects or groups is one way of recognizing where we operate.â€? - Kim Haworth â€œPutting money into ground-based projects or groups is one way of recognizing where we operate,â€? he said. First set up in 2006, the community forest delayed actual operations until the forest industry improved in 2010. It then had to repay a start up loan of $150,000 provided by the city. This yearâ€™s recipients of the $100,000 from the Terrace Community Forest are the Downtown Tree Project ($12,000), Howe Creek Trails ($5,000), Kitsumgallum Cemetery ($10,000), My Mountain Coop ($15,000), Skeena Valley Golf and Country Club ($18,500), Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club ($15,000), the Terrace Off Road Cycling Association ($7,500), Terraceâ€™s 100 Years Celebration Committee ($4,400), Northwest Science and Innovation Fair ($1,500), the Skeena Valley Fall Fair ($1,500) and the City of Terrace Community Foundation ($9,600).
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LNG Canada strikes deal with BC Hydro By Cameron Orr In the first power agreement made with an LNG proponent, BC Hydro said they are working with LNG Canada to keep their facilities lit up. The deal, announced early in November, will supply about 20 per cent of LNG Canada’s power needs from BC Hydro. The company said they took community feedback to heart in establishing how much electricity they could take from the provincial grid. “We heard very clearly from First Nations, the local community and the provincial government how important it is that LNG Canada considers environmental factors when planning for the proposed project,” said Andy Calitz, CEO of LNG Canada. “The decision to power our facility with renewable electricity in combination with highly efficient natural gas turbines reflects our commitment to listen to, and act on feedback from our stakeholders, when possible.” Their liquefaction process will still use natural gas-fueled turbines. Company spokespersons said that given the scale of their proposed operation they couldn’t put the liquefaction load on to BC Hydro’s grid. The agreement made isn’t just for power though. Through the arrangement BC Hydro says LNG Canada will fund improvement to BC Hydro infrastructure to allow them to connect. The company said details of the financial commitments relating to that are confidential. BC Hydro said that if a final investment decision is made in favour of the LNG Canada project, the agreement means that LNG Canada will install a number of capacitor stations along the existing 500 kv circuits between Prince George and Terrace, provide upgrades to the substations between Prince George and Kitimat, and LNG Canada will connect to the Minette substation in Kitimat. This work is in addition to other electrical work being done in the area by BC Hydro, namely the upgrade to the 500
kV circuit between Prince George and Terrace, an effort to maintain reliability says BC Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer, as well as the replacement of the 287 kV transmission circuit between Terrace and Kitimat. Securing BC Hydro’s role in B.C.’s LNG projects has been a theme in November. Shortly after the power agreement with LNG Canada was announced BC Hydro also revealed their LNG utility rate for power. The combined energy and demand charge for LNG facilities in 2014 will be $83.02 per megawatt hour (MWh), according to a government release from the Ministry of Energy and Mines. That compares to the average industrial rate paid in 2014 at $54.34/MWh. BC Hydro is anticipating more energy needs by 2024, the company assumes based on an initial LNG load of 3,000 gigawatt hours per year. Agreements with LNG Canada and Tilbury LNG in Delta will account for the majority of this expected load, they say.
A Healthy TransCanada community relations manager Rebeca bec beca be ca aM McElhoes cElh cE lho oe es se sserves erv rve rv ess u up p pancakes to hungry students at Port Edward Elementary School on Nov. 19. The company, which is proposing to construct a pipeline to bring gas from Northeastern B.C. to Lelu Island in Port Edward, has contributed $20,000 over three years to launch Breakfast Club programs in Port Edward, Vanderhoof, Terrace and Prince George.
Shaun Thomas photo
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Alicia Bridges photo
Alternative energy firm takes clean power to the world By Alicia Bridges
hat do a coconut plantation in the Dominican Republic, an off-the-grid McDonald’s in Guatemala and a monastery on a mountain-top in Greece have in common? The answer lies at a picturesque farm in the Bulkley Valley, where Smithers couple John and Angelika Egenolf are masterminding renewable energy solutions for local projects and oddball initiatives around the world. The couple started their company, Egenolf Alternative Energy Inc. shortly after moving to Smithers from their homeland of Germany in 2007.
John, a structural and civil engineer, couldn’t work in B.C. because his German qualifications were not recognized so he started thinking about indulging his long-held interest in renewable energy. “I was always interested in renewable energy and stuff like that and it just happened that we moved in that direction and finally started our own business,” he said. Seven years later, the property is an operating livestock farm and a base for fine-tuning renewable energy processes that form the basis of Egenolf Alternative Energy Inc.
Egenolf provides design, engineering and consulting on installing systems that reduce the need for fuel and hydro power, or remove it all together. Cars fuelled by canola oil or electricity, hybrid solardiesel generators and heating powered by wood chips are all services performed by the company. One of their notable contracts involved a plan to use coconut wood to power a plantation in the Dominican Republic. The plantation contacted the Egenolfs because it wanted to know if it could use wood-chips cut from
“I was always interested in renewable energy.” - John Egenolf leftover coconut wood to generate its own energy in place of diesel fuel. See Page 18
Alicia Bridges photo “Diesel fuel on the island there is expensive, but they have lots of coconut. So the question was, ‘can we gasify coconut wood and make electricity out of that’?” said Egenolf. “A representative came to Canada and he even brought coconut logs, physical logs. We chipped it here, we dried it and we did a gasification test for them ... I think they have already bought a gasification plant somewhere from China so they are making their own power from coconut wood.” The company is currently designing a generator powered by used cooking oil for an off-the-grid McDonald’s planned for Guatemala and they have also provided designs for a monastery in remote Greece. Locally, the company converted an electric car that Egenolf believes was the first in the Bulkley Valley. The engineer also sees huge potential for local municipalities to install biomass boilers that use waste wood from sawmills to generate heat and power. The boilers use wood chips cut from leftover lumber, which is currently burned in piles known as slash-piles. The viability of the biomass boilers, and their appeal to
local businesses and municipalities, depends on the price of the fossil fuels they are replacing. On the day of this interview, a layer of smoke is lingering over the snowy peaks visible from Egenolf ’s kitchen. In the haze, which he said was from slash-pile burns last week, the engineer sees a need and an opportunity for change. “The idea is basically [to] use the slash-piles, chip that material up and use it as a fuel for easy domestic heating purposes or, for our purposes, for heat and power at the same time,” he said. Living off-the-grid themselves allows the Egenolfs to test new systems before they offer them through the company. Their farm, where they raise livestock for personal and commercial use, is physically disconnected from BC Hydro. “We use stuff ourselves and when we are satisfied with it, then we provide it as a service or product. That’s the only way,” he said. “Up here in the north, in the middle of winter it’s minus 30 (degrees Celsius), there is no excuse for something that doesn’t work.”
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Charter Triangle Helijet looks to setup heliport in Kitimat By Cameron Orr
A commuter and medical helicopter company has put Kitimat in their crosshairs as a potential location for growth. Helijet revealed earlier this month that they are proposing a year-round heliport facility for Kitimat. The development of a helicopter service in Kitimat would be led by Helijetâ€™s subsidiary, Pacific Heliport Services, which has operated waterfront heliports in Vancouver and Victoria for 30 years. â€œOne of the areas being evaluated for a heliport site is near the Kitimat General Hospital and Health Centre and proposed clinic,â€? said Helijetâ€™s president Danny Sitnam in a news statement. â€œIn terms of flying times, it would be approximately 13 minutes to Terrace and 30 minutes to Prince Rupert.â€? Once an agreement is reached, he added it would take
about 12 to 18 months to make an operational heliport. Sitnam says their plan would include scheduled services, charter, and commercial. â€œThe facility could also support services for first responder organizations, as well as government agencies such as the RCMP and Search and Rescue. In addition, I believe there is also a great opportunity to use the heliport to grow the regionâ€™s tourism and hospitality sectors,â€? he said. An approved facility would include Transport Canada certification, a passenger lounge, an aircraft hangar, fuel storage and vehicle access. The company took time to note the involvement of Joanne Monaghan in getting their attention. â€œThis is a great announcement. Our industries are very supportive as the time to get an injured person to a hospital will be cut drastically,â€? said Monaghan.
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DWB Consulting mixes it up to stay competitive By Flavio Nienow
WB Consulting Services Ltd. (DWB), a multi-disciplinary consulting firm that offers engineering, environmental and forestry services, has used its diversity of services to motivate staff and stay strong in the market. Soon after the global financial crisis of 2008, the forestry sector in Northern British Columbia noticed a downturn, and it was particularly during that time that DWB saw the real benefit of not relying on just one sector. Youenn Wilson, operations manager at DWB in Burns Lake, said that in 2009 he shifted from working in the forestry department to get some on-the-job training and do some monitoring work in the company’s environmental department. “That’s what keeps the company successful,” said Wilson. “A lot of the resource-based industries or clients are cyclical in nature, so it helps the company to diversify [its services].” The company’s wide range of services include road design and construction, environmental assessments and management plans, bridge inspections, river engineering,
“I think it’s the diversity that keeps things interesting for me.” - Youenn Wilson harvest plans and ecological mapping. Offering a wide range of services has not only been positive for business, but it has contributed to keeping staff motivated. “Most employees get exposed to the other departments,” said Wilson. “I think it’s the diversity that has kept things interesting for me, that exposure to those other areas of consulting.” The company has been using the interdepartmental exchange as an asset to attract new employees and overcome one of the company’s main challenges attracting skilled workers to rural areas. See Page 21
DWB Consulting photo “Small town life isn’t for everybody and it can be a tough sell,” said Wilson. “There is also a shortage of forestry technicians and an increased competition from other sectors for this same group of workers.” Another way the company has found to overcome recruiting challenges is by offering employees competitive wages and benefits. “We try to make the company as appealing as possible,” he said. Established in 1990 in Lac La Hache, DWB has grown from a small family-run business to a multi-faceted company with operations in Prince George, Chetwynd and Burns Lake. The roster of full-time and seasonal staff averages 70 to 120 employees between all offices. The team includes engineers, biologists, agrologists, foresters and professionals in sediment/erosion control.
Wilson said that although the company has grown significantly since its early start in 1990, DWB still hasn’t lost its “family-oriented feel”. “I’ve worked with other consulting firms in the past, and it’s the family feel of this company [DWB] that has kept me here,” he said. In 2007, the company expanded operations to Burns Lake, focusing mostly on the forestry sector and some environmental work. The Burns Lake office has six permanent employees and brings staff from other offices for all engineering projects. Wilson said that apart from offering a wide range of services, DWB tries to rise above the competitors in the area by developing “cost-effective solutions” to environmental, engineering and forestry issues. “We try to differentiate ourselves by offering a quality product at a competitive price for our clients,” said Wilson.
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Bringing benefits Gary Fiegehen photo
Nisga’a reach benefits agreement with Prince Rupert Gas By Shaun Thomas
rince Rupert Gas Transmission Ltd. (PRGT) has cleared one hurdle in the construction of its proposed pipeline connecting Northeastern B.C. to Lelu Island as the Nisga’a Lisims Government has executed a benefits agreement with the company. The Nisga’a Nation said the agreement, which was reached on Oct. 29, will allow for approximately 85 kilometres of the proposed pipeline to run through Nisga’a lands and allow approximately 12 kilometres to run through the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, primarily adjacent to the highway. The final right of way for the pipeline will be approximately 32 metres wide, while additional lands may be required for possible pipeline expansion, temporary log decking, equipment storage and camps. However, the nation emphasizes that “the rights granted by the Nisga’a Nation are not sales of Nisga’a Lands”. The Nisga’a say the agreement includes “substantial financial and other benefits that will accrue to the Nisga’a Nation”, including direct financial benefits, further capacity funding, milestone payments, annual right of way payments and additional payments “made on the
“We look forward to a long ... mutually beneficial economic relationship with PRGT.” - Mitchell Stevens basis of shared future success” for both the company and the Nisga’a. As well as payments, the Nisga’a will receive property tax payments as a result of a property tax agreement signed with the province last month and includes commitments for the company to provide, “exclusive contracting opportunities for right-of-way clearing, camp services, security and medical services on Nisga’a lands”. The Nisga’a will also retain ownership of merchantable timber harvested on their land and an “enhanced forest management fund and an environmental studies and monitoring fund” has been established. See Page 23
The two groups will also work together to determine whether the Nisga’a Nation can establish future natural gas distribution to serve homes in the Nass Valley and the deal gives the Nisga’a Nation the option to secure capacity on the line for an LNG developer who locates on Nisga’a land. Prince Rupert Gas Transmission vice-president John Dunn said the agreement is a longtime coming. “We see it as a milestone ... to have, after some 18 months, negotiated an agreement with this First Nation that is balanced and provides long-term benefits to the Nisga’a Nation while at the same time providing certainty to our route through their lands is very important,” he said. “We appreciate their willingness to work with us to reach an outcome that will benefit their people for many years to come. They have been actively involved in all aspects of project discussions including developing route options through their lands and the park, and discussions around the economic benefits of our project ... we have a great deal of respect for the Nisga’a people. It has always been the highest priority to negotiate with, and have the support of, every aboriginal group that will be directly affected by our proposed pipeline. Our philosophy is based on collaboration and consensus that will certainly continue as we move forward and work with the Nisga’a people.” At a formal signing ceremony in Vancouver on Nov. 6, Nisga’a Nation president Mitchell Stevens called the agreement a win-win.
“To have, after some 18 months, negotiated an agreement ... is very important.” - John Dunn “Working together with PRGT, we have concluded an agreement that provides project certainty for PRGT in the construction of this pipeline that is critical to the aspirations of both British Columbia and the Nisga’a Nation to be a part of the world class LNG export industry,” said Stevens, noting the role the agreement plays in allowing the Nisga’a to “participate directly in LNG development”. “The Nisga’a Nation strives for sustainable prosperity and the prudent use of the lands that it owns, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial economic relationship with PRGT.” With an agreement in place with the Nisga’a Nation, Dunn said the company will continue to discuss the project with others throughout the region. “Including the Nisga’a Nation, we have 19 First Nations along the 900-kilometre route from Northeastern British Columbia all the way to Lelu Island. We have been in discussions with those nations for almost two years and they are progressing well,” he said.
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From lumber Rebecca Watson photo
Logs turn into high-end homes in Fraser Lake By Rebecca Watson
ustic, beautiful and wooden, Rocky Mountain Log Homes are known for offering people one-of-a-kind places to live. They’re built all over the world, but the magic starts right here in northern British Columbia. Rocky Mountain Log Homes have been personalizing cabin-style homes for over 40 years. They’re one of the leading log-home manufacturers in the United States offering Swedish-cope, handcrafted and panel-wood homes in partnership with Pioneer Log Homes of Montana and Whisper Creek Log Homes. Some of these dwellings can cost upward of $1 million and although they are mainly sold in the United States, about 80 per cent of the logs come directly from a small operation in Fraser Lake, B.C. “We do some really fancy homes with some quite intricate truss systems, but it all starts right here with the wood being collected, cut to proper length and roughly profiled,” said Richard Burkholder, manager of the Rocky Mountain operation in Fraser Lake. At peak times, Burkholder manages about six or seven employees. Contractors get their licence to cut through the provincial small scale salvage program, so the trees they use are dead and dry from either Mountain Pine Beetle or from forest fire. “This wood we’re salvaging no one else really wants,”
“We do some really fancy homes with some quite intricate truss systems.” - Richard Burkholder said Burkholder. “Bigger plants don’t take the chance of having charcoal because even a small amount can ruin their final paper product.” Once collected and cut, the logs are profiled (rounded) through a Bezner log profiler, a machine that moves each log through rollers that whittle the wood down like a pencil sharpener until it comes out finished on the other side. Approximately 40 per cent of the stand becomes waste through profiling and tapering. While unused wood is sent to Pinnacle Pellet in Burns Lake to make wood pellets, the finished raw-wood logs are then sent to the Hamilton, Montana plant to be further finished and/or handcrafted at the Rocky Mountain Log Home headquarters. See Page 25
â€œWe cut them all a bit oversize so when they go down to the States they can get turned again. Thatâ€™s where they get the nice and smooth finish,â€? said Burkholder. â€œBut not everyone likes the smooth finish. On some pieces of wood you can still see the pine beetle trails where they feed and lay their eggs. Some people really like the beetle marks and they pay extra for that.â€? Even now, residents of British Columbia would have to buy a log home kit directly from the Montana facility. Terry Cleveland, an owner of Rocky Mountain Log Homes, says about half of their total cost is in the transportation, which is why they do an initial finish in B.C. â€œA new idea is to cut the transportation out completely and finish the product [right in Fraser Lake],â€? said Cleveland.
â€œWeâ€™re finding now more than ever there is an international market in places like Asia, Turkey and Ukraine. We want to send more equipment up to the Fraser Lake site to start building the homes up there.â€? Although northern B.C. has a considerable number of large mills and a noticeable amount of hand-crafted log home builders, there are still not many machine crafted operations said Cleveland. â€œWe also specialize in hand-crafted work, but I think the Fraser Lake area is ripe for little cabins, they would just have to be in the right price range. We are notorious for large luxurious homes, not small cabins. But we are seeing the change to do smaller ones and not the giant ones. Hopefully by next year we will have a dealer established to market, sell and finish homes right out of Fraser Lake.â€?
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Industrial site City of Terrace photo
Sale of land to Chinese group a critical first step By Rod Link
he official closure of a land sales deal between a partnership consisting of the City of Terrace and the Kitselas First Nation to a Chinese agency in November is the latest effort to stabilize the Terrace area economy. The land takes up 1,186 acres of the Skeena Industrial Development Park south of the Northwest Regional Airport and is approximately half of the park’s land base. Already officials from the Qinhuangdao Economic and Technological Development Zone have visited to Terrace, first a group of managers and politicians to sign the sales deal and a second technical group focussed on the next steps of turning their portion of the industrial park into a viable enterprise. At close to $12 million, the deal is one of the largest real estate transactions in the region in years, marking the start of what the city – and the Chinese group – hope will become a satellite industrial zone to the main one in China. While there’s much speculation about what could happen, one industry has already been identified – the construction of an alfalfa protein extraction plant with the finished product to be shipped overseas. Briefing papers prepared this fall for some of the city’s top business agencies, including the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce, the Terrace Economic Development Authority and the Northwest Regional Airport Society, indicate that 170 jobs at the plant will be created on a complex taking up 33 acres. Speaking recently, city development services director David Block sketched out some of the details which have been worked out and some which still need to be worked
out as the Chinese continue to develop their concept. One development issue still to be decided is supplying water either by wells on site or by hooking into the KitimatStikine Regional District’s water supply. About half of the purchase price, $6 to $7 million, is earmarked to build the tie-in infrastructure, a line from the Thornhill water works to the industrial park and a reservoir, says Block. But should the Chinese group find sufficient water of their own by drilling wells at the park, the city will then repay to the firm what it would have spent on the Thornhill water option. The Chinese agency has already had some success in exploratory work, said Block. “The indication they have from the one well [that has been drilled] is that they are anticipating at least for the start of the first phase they will be able to do water through a system that is well-sourced,” he said. “If they can put three of four wells and get enough water to do a system and never have to connect to the regional district system, then it might be far cheaper without having to spend that $6 or $7 million to pump water up the hill,” said Block. The key word here is “if ”, as the amount of water supply needed for multiple heavy industrial sites would be significant. But if multiple wells are found, “they might get back some of it [the sale money],” said Block. And depending upon the amount of water found, a deal could very well be made to supply the airport. See Page 27
Although the city estimates half of the sale revenue could be used for a water supply, the remainder will be used on other services, said Block. He noted that the city’s intent is developing land that’s in the industrial park boundaries but located on the other side of Highway 37 north from the main park lands and adjacent to the motocross park. A number of smaller lots could eventually contain spin off businesses related to the larger industrial concerns across the highway, said Block. But two larger parcels, both nearly 50 acres in size, might be used for something else altogether with Block saying the city is negotiating with several forest products companies. Block also emphasized the city’s philosophy behind the Chinese land sale. “The sale price is low because it wasn’t city council’s intent to make money off of the land sale,” said Block. “This is for jobs and for the benefits downstream,” he said. Still there is some protection for the city contained within the sales agreement. The city will have the capability to purchase land back at the original sale price should the Chinese agency not follow through on their commitments. “There are also timelines in there for them to reach certain steps along their industrial park and manufacturing investments,” said Block. “And if they don’t hit certain time lines there are options to buy that land back at the cost of sale, $10,000 an acre.” Block said one critical milestone where such provisions could occur comes 10 years after the sale is concluded.
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It means it is in the Chinese development zone’s best interests to find clients for the land. And, Block continued, the development zone will not be able to sell off portions of its location to another party. The Kitselas First Nation is a joint venture partner with the city to the extent that any tax revenues generated by industries at the park will be shared on a per capita population basis. Block did say the city will be reimbursed through land sales for any monies it has spent already on development of the park. That includes legal costs, road construction and construction of highway access.
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Inland Air takes to the skies to connect industry By Martina Perry
lying above the breathtaking landscape of the north, Inland Air provides industrial and commercial customers the ability to access areas that are otherwise unreachable. Opened by Trevor Pierce in 1981, Inland Air was established to provide services to the logging and fishing industries. While a majority of Inland Air’s business is still comprised of chartering jobs today, the business has expanded to include daily flights between North Coast communities, flight-seeing excursions, crew and guest changeovers and paddler pick-ups and drop-offs. The company’s philosophy is to get customers where they need to be, wherever that might be. Bruce MacDonald, a seaplane pilot of more than 40 years, began flying for Inland Air in 1993. MacDonald would go on to purchase the operation in 2006, becoming owner and operations manager. Growing up, MacDonald’s family lived about a 30 minutes away from the de Havilland Aircraft factory in Toronto. As a child, MacDonald remembers riding his bike to the factory to see de Havilland Beaver float planes be assembled through a chain-link fence surrounding the property, watching in awe. Little did he know at the time he would end up owning a business with seven de Havilland Beaver float planes in its fleet. “We’ve got probably the most reliable engine in the world powering the Beaver,” MacDonald said. Under MacDonald’s leadership, Inland Air bought the
“We all love what we do. That is the key.” - Bruce MacDonald assets of North Pacific Seaplanes in March of 2013, with the company going from having three float planes to seven. Previously, Inland Air’s business consisted of nothing but charter work, but today 70 per cent of the company’s operations are charter jobs and 30 per cent is scheduled service. The company’s charter service spans from the Alaska border to Haida Gwaii all the way down to Bella Bella. With this expansion Transport Canada is holding Inland Air to much higher standards now than it did previously. What was operationally permitted with two aircraft in the past is just not acceptable now, says MacDonald. “This has increased costs somewhat, but that is the price that is paid to operate safely in this environment,” he said, noting Inland Air is a member of the Floatplane Operators Association whose goal is to promote best practices in the industry. MacDonald estimates that somewhere between 65 and 75 per cent of the company’s charter business comes from industry clients such as the Banks Island Gold mine, the Fly Pacific Pilotage Authority to Stewart and Kitimat and a few sport fishing lodges on the North Coast, and a workers camp in Anyok. See Page 29
Inland Air helps its industry clients transport crew members, groceries, equipment and whatever else they need brought to work sites. Headquartered in Prince Rupert, Inland Air also has bases in Masset and the Village of Queen Charlotte. The business does daily flights to Masset, and scheduled flights to Kitkatla, Lax Kw’alaams and Hartley Bay. There are already many industry workers using Inland Air’s scheduled service every day, but with all of the industry projects proposed on the coast of Northern B.C. MacDonald expects his company will carry even more in the future. With an increase in high paying jobs, MacDonald said North Coast residents will have more disposable income and therefore expects Inland Air to reap the benefits of a trickling down effect. “They’re going to have money to spend to fly back and forth,” MacDonald said. To handle all of the traffic, Inland Air employs eight pilots in the summer months, which is reduced to four during the winter. While MacDonald no longer flies full time, he said he fills in whenever it’s needed. Inland Air pilots are vastly experienced, and always use the safest practices. Extreme weather conditions make flying conditions challenging for even the most experienced pilots. “Probably one of the most difficult places in Canada to fly is the northwest coast. But all my pilots have a lot of experience,” MacDonald said, adding pilots will not transport customers in weather they wouldn’t fly their own families through. “It’s better to be sitting here wishing you were in the sky than being out there and wishing you weren’t,” he said. It may be challenging at times, but MacDonald said at the end
of the day it’s satisfying flying over the North Coast. “When the sun is shining, there isn’t a prettier place in the world to fly. Something I really enjoy is when we do some of the sightseeing tours, you take people who have never been in this area before and get to see the look on their face,” he said. Perhaps the most breathtaking view for passengers and pilots alike is flying over the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. During late spring and summer months, it is one of the areas that Inland Air provides sightseeing tours to tourists in. MacDonald noted his company is the only seaplane business that operates in the area. MacDonald is a self-described aviation enthusiast. His love for flying began when he was a young child, when his father purchased an Aeronca airplane, the first of many aircraft the family would own. “We were airport rat kids when we grew up,” MacDonald said. This passion is shared by all Inland Air employees. “I’ve got a really great crew here, right from the guys that work on the dock through the freight department, over into the hangar and office,” MacDonald said. “We all love what we do. That’s the key”.
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Beetle brings about Prince Rupert Port Authority photo
By the Prince Rupert Port Authority
he nature of British Columbia’s forestry sector has undergone a notable shift in recent years, thanks in large part to the industry’s ability to innovate and adapt to changed circumstances. The mountain pine beetle has devastated a significant portion of the province’s harvestable pine forests since it was recognized over a decade ago as the most severe bark beetle infestation in North American history. Since 2001, the epidemic has killed an estimated 718 million cubic metres of commercially valuable timber, more than half of all such pine in B.C.. While the rate of damage is slowing, it is expected that the greatest social and economic impacts of the epidemic still lie ahead. An important factor in the survival of the industry has been the technological innovation introduced to B.C.’s roughly two dozen sawmills over the last 20 years. Using the latest in computer scanning technology, mills — owned and operated by Canadian forest companies like West Fraser Timber Co. — rely on the digital screening of each log to maximize the value that can be derived from it. In fact, at mills like West Fraser’s Pacific Inland Resources in Smithers, manual decisionmaking has been reduced. In a fraction of a second, scanners create a 3D image of a log from thousands of data points, determine its defects, how many boards can be cut from it and the ideal dimensions of those boards. The introduction of modern technology has helped the industry maximize the volume and value of damaged and dead pine trees.
The rise of Asian demand for B.C. softwood lumber products, particularly in China, has also been important to the health of the industry in the last five years. At a time when B.C. lumber exports to the United States dropped by nearly 60 per cent, the building boom in China helped B.C.’s forest companies fill some of the void left by the US housing market collapse. From 2006 to 2011, Chinese imports of B.C. softwood lumber increased from a mere 140 million board feet to 3.1 billion, equal to more than 25 per cent of B.C. production. With B.C. wood products gaining wider acceptance in China for use in construction, and with the country now paying globally competitive prices for lower grades of lumber, mills across the province have been able to reopen or add capacity. And there’s no sign that China’s appetite for B.C. lumber is waning. Lumber exports to China in 2013 are on track to surpass 2012’s near record $1.08 billion. The Port of Prince Rupert possesses the capacity to move the increased trade in lumber to those new markets. Currently about 30 per cent of West Fraser’s Canadian production is exported to Asian markets like China, Japan and Korea through Canada’s west coast ports, a figure expected to continue growing into the next decade. This increasing trade through the Port of Prince Rupert—by West Fraser and other Canadian forest product companies—is providing new opportunities and success for communities throughout B.C.’s northern trade corridor.
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