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Helicopter Rescue:

Spring 2015

The Challenges Facing BC Today

Global Markets and Delivered Log Costs:

Keeping Coastal BC Competitive Urban-Rural Interface: The Evolution of Community Consultation

PM # 40010419

Talking to “David” – What the Contractors are Saying

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 1

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2 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015



SPRING 2015 Volume 38 Number 1




Columns & Departments



42 Helicopter Rescue: The Challenges Facing BC Today


President’s Message

Looking Forward: Creating An Aligned Forest Industry Don Banasky

Executive Director’s Message

Seeking a Sustainable Future for Forest Contractors David Elstone

10 Interior Logging Association’s Message ILA 57th Annual Conference & Trade Show: Putting the Membership First Wayne Lintott

13 North West Loggers Association’s Message A Reflection On Progress: Forestry Advocacy in BC Bill Sauer

15 Market Report

Global Markets and Delivered Log Costs: Keeping Coastal BC Competitive Jim Girvan

16 Safety Report

Harvesting Safely on the Coast: Current CHAG Issues Ken Higginbotham

18 Legal Report

Bargaining in Good Faith: David Didn’t Stand a Chance Steve Ross

20 Business Matters

Ian McNeill

Features 22 Talking to “David” What the Contractors Are Saying TLA Editorial

29 ILA 57th Annual Conference & Trade Show Registration and Minister’s Message Minister Steve Thomson

33 TLA Convention Review TLA Editorial

38 David Elstone: Forestry, Advocacy and Getting the Job Done Brenda Martin

46 Urban-Rural Interface: The Evolution of Community Consultation Robin Brunet

Business Relationships: What Should They Look Like? James Byrne

Cover photo: Moresby Consulting Ltd.

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 3

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The Truck Loggers Association 2015 Executive & Directors

Interior Logging Association 2014 – 2015 Board of Directors

Chairman Don Banasky First Vice Chairman Jacqui Beban Graham Lasure Second Vice Chairman Past Chairman David Elstone Directors Ted Beutler Howie McKamey Dave McNaught Lukas Olsen Clint Parcher Mark Ponting Mike Richardson Barry Simpson Doug Sladey Matt Wealick Adam Wunderlich Associate Directors George Lambert Tim Lloyd Brian Mulvihill General Manager Adam Pruss Administration Carl Sweet

President Vice President Past President Executive Director Industrial Directors

Editorial Board Don Banasky Jacqui Beban James Byrne Graham Lasure Wayne Lintott Brian Mulvihill Bill Sauer

Reid Hedlund Randy Spence Len Gudeit Ed Smith Terry Brown Lee Callow Mike Closs Dennis Cook John Drayton Randy Durante Matt Edmondson Frank Etchart Scott Horovatin Jeff Kineshanko Hedley Larson Bill McDonald Burns Thiessen Ron Volansky Wayne Lintott Nancy Hesketh

Interior Logging Association 3204 - 39th Avenue Vernon, BC V1T 3C8 Tel: 250.503.2199 Fax: 250.503.2250 E-mail: Website:

CAMPBELL RIVER 207 - 1100 Island Highway, Campbell River, BC V9W 8C6 T: 250-287-0143 E:

SPRING 2015 / VOLUME 38 / NUMBER 1 Editor Brenda Martin Contributing Writers Don Banasky

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• Prescription drugs • Physiotherapy • Massage therapy • Acupuncture • Chiropractic services

• Naturopathy • Psychology • Podiatry • Vision care expenses • Orthodontic treatments

Jacqui Beban Robin Brunet James Byrne David Elstone Jim Girvan Ken Higginbotham

For editorial information, please contact the Truck Loggers Association: Tel: 604.684.4291 Email: For advertising, please contact Advertising In Print: Tel: 604.681.1811 Email: Truck LoggerBC magazine is published four times a year by the Truck Loggers Association, with content and support from the Interior Logging Association and the North West Loggers Association. Its editorial content seeks to reflect issues facing the industry and to provide readers with current information on B.C.’s forest industry. All rights reserved.

Advertising Sales & Design Layout office:

Advertising In Print 200 - 896 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 2P6 Tel: 604.681.1811. Fax: 604.681.0456 Publication Mailing Agreement No. 40010419. For subscriptions, contact or 604.684.4291. Send change of address notices and covers of undeliverable copies to:

4 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

Dave Lewis Wayne Lintott Brenda Martin Ian McNeill Steve Ross Bill Sauer

The Truck Loggers Association Suite 725-815 West Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V6C 1B4 E-mail:

Tel: 604.684.4291 Fax: 604.684.7134 Website:

from the Editorial Board DESK...


elcome to the Spring 2015 edition of Truck LoggerBC magazine! It was great to see so many of you at our 72nd TLA Annual Convention & Trade Show. Here is a special thanks to our members, sponsors, speakers, delegates and TLA staff for making this year’s convention such a wonderful success. The four industry reports in this issue—legal, business, safety and market—address overarching topics such as negotiating in good faith, building a healthy business relationship, certifying falling supervisors and reducing delivered log costs. There’s something for everyone here. Our three feature articles each address a critical forestry issue. Ian McNeill explains the current challenges we face when a worker is injured in a remote cutblock and requires helicopter evacuation. Robin Brunet writes about community consultation and how the forest industry is working to improve our consultation process with other stakeholders. In our third feature, “Talking to David,” the writer reviews the “Investing In Yourself – The Contractor Perspective” convention panel where six veteran contractors provided perspective on their businesses and the contracting sector’s future in BC. I would like to send a warm welcome to our new Executive Director, David Elstone, RPF. David brings a variety

of skills and great enthusiasm to our organization and we look forward to working with him to move the TLA forward! You can learn more about David and the skills he brings to the TLA on page 38. I would also like to welcome our new directors to the board. Mark Ponting of Ponting Logging & Grade Ltd., Adam Pruss of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, Carl Sweet of Inland Group, and Adam Wunderlich of Fall River Logging Ltd. You can read more about them on page 36. Finally, mark your calendars for the Interior Logging Conference & Trade Show taking place May 7, 8 & 9 in Vernon. The ILA always puts on a great event and they would love to see you there! As always, we hope you enjoy our magazine and that you find it informative. If you have any feedback or comments, please contact Brenda Martin, Director of Communications, at 604.684.4291 ext.2 or

Jacqui Beban, Nootka Sound Timber Co. Ltd Editorial Board Chair

Letter To The Editor


haven’t read an issue of Truck LoggerBC magazine since I left the organization two and a half years ago. I now consider myself an outsider from the industry as I make a living in the construction sector. When I left the TLA, many people asked why I didn’t stay in the forest industry. My pat response was, “I just spent five years trying to deal with the consolidation of the industry, unsustainable rates and a lack of a long-term vision to little or no avail—if I stayed in this industry I would either be seen as a liar or a fool.” What has changed since I left, is the industry has rebounded. Things should be better—yet the same issues remain. It struck me as odd that there would be pages of content dedicated to whining about logging rates and a lack of negotiating power, sandwiched between how do we invest more and find more workers. I can’t imagine how much the licensees are laughing at this irony. Contractors have the ability to resolve these issues, yet many seem to refuse to acknowledge it. Logging is a capitally intensive business which is becoming more and more mechanized. Without adequate returns you cannot re-invest. Without workers, you cannot operate the equipment. Hence, without adequate returns the investment and recruitment issues should be moot points. “You have no negotiating power unless you are prepared to quit.” As an outsider, the obvious answer to me is to downsize not grow. As equipment reaches its life expectancy, relegate it to the role of standby equipment or sell it. Loggers

are resourceful people, they can figure out the logistics of reducing their operations to the next smaller size that is efficient and profitable. As operations are reduced, the need for future employees largely evaporates. As logging capacity falls, supply and demand principles will kick in and logging rates will rise. The best part about this basic economic reality is that the logging contractor is completely in control of making all of these decisions. Let me repeat that—the logging contractor is completely in control of making all of these decisions. I truly believe that until the rate issue is addressed, investment and future employment are not the contractors issue to worry about. I fully understand the irresponsibility of leaving long-term planning to quarter by quarter thinkers but until the licensees are significantly impacted by these issues, you will not see rates rise. Some contractors are reducing or eliminating forestry operations as the TLA President can attest to. I am guessing that those who are expanding are not whining about rates. For those who are hanging on unchanged, hoping to be one of the survivors, all I can say is, “Now are the good times.” If this is what success looks like, maybe being a beaten, bloodied and battered survivor is not all that appealing. You will not hear this sort of advocacy from the TLA as their mandate is the exact opposite—as it should be. But take it from someone who did quit; sometimes you have to take two steps back in order to take three forward. - Submitted by Dave Lewis Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 5


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Don Banasky

TLA President’s MESSAGE

Looking Forward: Creating An Aligned Forest Industry


s the TLA rolls out of convention mode and into the spring, we can reflect on some of our recent success. Our TLA staff planned and executed an amazing convention and trade show in Victoria. The mood was engaged, the sessions relevant and attendance was overwhelming. This once again reaffirms the appetite our members have for relevant information. As your association, we will continue to strive for relevant topics and speakers that give you the tools to enhance your businesses.

evant costs involved in running a forest contractor operation. This will be our unilateral focus and contractor sustainability will be at the core. As a provincial forest industry, we need to reduce delivered log costs to compete in the world market. As contractors, we need rates to sustain our companies, our communities and— guess what—our licensee log deliveries. For 72 years, we have applied steady pressure as an association, being both proactive and reactive to situations and

Knowing your true costs and understanding the power of NO during negotiations is priceless. January’s convention was also our opportunity to introduce your new Executive Director, David Elstone, RPF. We kept his workload light in Victoria so he could use the opportunity to connect with as many members as possible. Since the convention, David has continued to meet with members, now onsite at their operations. He’s run a log loader and is ready to set some chokers. These site visits help David understand the challenges TLA members face and let him experience the passion we bring to our work. Seeing the challenges and the passion helps David build his message and advocate strongly for the membership. We look forward to his long and successful career with the TLA. Please look to page 8 for David’s first Executive Director’s Message in this magazine. As I write this article, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers’ Nanaimo auction is fast approaching. This is once again a clear indication of a disconnect between contractors and their licensees. Although the TLA and CFPA executives are working closely together in an attempt to connect the dots, we are still a long way from any deliverable solutions. We will continue to apply pressure in all areas in an attempt to create a foundation for rate negotiation that will reflect all rel-

conditions. 2014 and 2015 are critical years where we are seeing companies become insolvent and businesses undertake complete dispersals. And we hear a rumbling of many more to come. In the short term, our members and the industry are scrambling to manage reduced workloads as a result of poor market conditions and continuing to battle over unsustainable rates to operate effective, efficient businesses. One thing we all know and the main driver behind our forest sector’s success is simple: We love what we do. If you want to keep working well into the future, please utilize some of the services listed in this magazine. Some of the financial and/or business focused advertisers can quickly help you recognize your business’ true cost of operating. This may seem like a large expenditure, however, it will be the best money you invest in yourself, your company and your community in the long run. Knowing your true costs and understanding the power of NO during negotiations is priceless. In 2015, let’s also not forget our commitment to go home safe each day. Stay focused on new worker training and mentoring of young and old workers throughout your operations. Contact WorkSafeBC or the BC Forest Safety

Council to get coaching or additional training in areas of concern. You may be surprised how cost effective or free the assistance may be. Don’t wait until it’s too late. As BC’s forest industry, let’s be proactive in our safety approach this year and send everyone home in one piece from this point on. I recently had a young driller blaster trainee say to me, “It’s hard to believe I get paid to do this!” This is a phrase I have used often in my 20 years in the business and still say it out loud to this day. I was encouraged by the young man’s comment and realized that there is young, hard-working talent with a good attitude and great work ethic still out there. As contractors and licensees, we need to get it together sooner than later, to ensure we can create an aligned forest industry from trees to town. We must create and maintain successful business relationships and a world class safety standard to keep all workers engaged and healthy. Let’s all realize…a crappy day logging is still more enjoyable than a great day in Fort Mac. Don Banasky, President, TLA Tel: 250.668.7746 Email:

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 7

David Elstone

TLA Executive Director’s MESSAGE

Seeking a Sustainable Future for Forest Contractors


ust a few short months ago I joined the TLA as the new Executive Director and what a ride it has been. My second week took place at our 72nd Annual Convention & Trade Show where I met many TLA members and industry stakeholders. Those meetings, along with several recent worksite visits to TLA member operations, have given me insight into the challenges facing coastal forest contractors. These insights are also informed by my past work as a financial analyst. For the last ten years, I viewed the BC forest industry from 30,000 feet, as part of a broader global industry perspective following world markets and trade. Now my new ground-level perspective—combined with my knowledge of forest product markets—shows me that all is not as it should be.

solidation” is a buzz word that usually gets investors excited because it tends to enhance pricing power—a vivid example is the current distribution of the coastal allowable annual cut. But contractor consolidation also means licensees will hear “no thanks” much more often putting the consistent delivery of logs at risk. I believe many of the TLA membership’s concerns are symptoms of a desperate business relationship. In the Legal Report (page 18), Steve Ross outlines one such relationship. We need to restore the concept of a respectful business relationship to the coastal forest industry, demonstrated by action, not just talk. It is the job of the customer’s agents to bargain for the best rates possible. But what defines best rates? A level where contractors continue to go insolvent and take machines to auc-

Without a serious discussion about contractor sustainability, contractors can’t tackle challenges such as equipment maintenance, recruitment and training. Since joining the TLA I’ve heard concerns about contractor sustainability almost daily. It is clear to me that raterelated topics are central to addressing contractor sustainability as is the need to talk about ways we can mutually address rising log costs. Without a serious discussion about these issues, contractors can’t tackle challenges such as equipment maintenance, recruitment and training. Taking all of this into consideration, I can see the timely and consistent delivery of logs is at risk. What I have found even more fascinating is that some licensees argue this is not a real risk—though I doubt their shareholders would agree. Some licensees told me they plan to let supply rationalization run its course because the result will be a more consolidated work flow. I say be careful what you wish for. The term “con-

8 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

tion? Short-term gains for long-term pain is not a good business practice. Read more about good business relationships in the Business Matters report by James Byrne (page 20). When I talk about the need to address rate-related issues, I know some in the industry think, “Isn’t this all just whining contractor syndrome?” Here then is the conundrum: Licensees have seen their balance sheets repaired following the recent modest market recovery. But such parallel healing has not taken place for contractors. The evidence of which was highlighted in the two recent Truck LoggerBC articles, “Logging Rate Negotiation: When David Meets Goliath” and “Tough Decisions Facing the Logging Sector.” What other reason could there be for so many contactors to leave the industry through insolvency or a consistent lack of returns? And it is not

just weaker players leaving. Bryan Gregson of Copcan Contracting, based in Nanaimo, explained it this way, “We were constantly told our rates were too high but at the same time, the return on the capital we had invested in equipment was simply not there anymore.” Contractor sustainability is at risk and that is a problem that belongs to the whole industry. Acknowledging it as such is a good first step to addressing this issue. Looking toward the future with contractor sustainability in mind, markets so far this year have been under-the-weather. Check out the Market Report (page 15) for further details. However, my question is if contractors weren’t able to get ahead during the boost to markets that China generated, how can they expect to get ahead now if markets turn to a ho-hum level in 2015? Will more contractors decide to tool down? One of the speakers at our convention recommended just that, “Based on today’s rate of returns for contractors, it might be better to get out now than to be forced out later.” That is a big, red warning flag for me and it should be for the other industry leaders as well. We are not alone in the global market place and others will use our weakness to their advantage. I expect to hear plenty more about industry competitiveness as referenced in the BC government’s 2015 Budget documents. But it will be a tough conversation for BC coastal contractors when competitiveness is a distant thought. Many are barely surviving now and conversation about getting out or tool down is rampant. David Elstone, RPF, Executive Director, TLA Tel: 604.684.4291 ext. 1 Email:

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Wayne Lintott

Interior Logging Association’s MESSAGE

ILA 57th Annual Conference & Trade Show: Putting the Membership First


t’s all good news for this year’s Interior Logging Association’s 57th Annual Conference & Trade Show on May 7, 8 & 9. From engaging, informative sessions to the return of the outside component of the trade show, this year’s conference promises to be an outstanding one. Outdoor & Indoor Trade Shows Our last outdoor show was in 2009 so its return is a big win for the conference. Member and industry companies will

Conference Seminars Once again, our seminars are an event highlight. Come learn more about the industry and network with other forest contractors. Seminar: Steep Slope Logging Updates Friday, May 8, 10:00 - 11:30 am Best Western Vernon Lodge Hotel Presenter: Gerald Messier, Training & Program Development Manager, BC Forest Safety Council Presenter: Bjarne Nielsen, Senior Regional Officer, WorkSafeBC

I encourage everyone to come down and show support for the outside display. These businesses have gone above and beyond the call of duty. display trucks, equipment and attachments. We have 29 companies lined up to participate in the outside display along with our regular 50 plus companies displaying inside at Kal Tire Place. Another exciting aspect of our outside show is the Okanagan Audio Lab’s exhibit. They will have one of their truck units on display. Hearing tests will be available for visitors 18 years and older* and personalized hearing protection will be a featured safety product. If you want testing for WorkSafeBC requirements, a charge of $50 plus tax per test will apply. We are also pleased to announce that Waratah is once again bringing back Live Logger Sports Action to their outside display venue on Friday and Saturday. I encourage all contractors and ILA members to come down and show support for the outside display. These businesses exhibiting have gone above and beyond the call of duty to resurrect the outdoor show. The outdoor and indoor trade shows and the seminars are open to the general public at no charge for those wishing to attend.

10 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

Seminar: How to Fit a Heart Attack into your Busy Schedule Friday, May 8, 1:30 - 2:30 pm Best Western Vernon Lodge Hotel Presenter: Philip Jones, Motivational Speaker from Calgary, Alberta Seminar: Safe Companies Update Friday, May 8, 2:30 - 3:30 pm Best Western Vernon Lodge Hotel Presenter: Rob Moonen, Director Safe Companies, BC Forest Safety Council Seminar: Work Place Safety Law Reform from New Zealand Saturday, May 9, 9:00 - 10:30 am Best Western Vernon Lodge Hotel Presenter: John Stulen, Executive Director, Forest Industry Contractors Association, Rotorua, New Zealand ILA Annual General Meeting ILA members, please plan on attending our annual general meeting on Friday, May 8, 2015 from 8:30 - 10:00 am at the Best Western Vernon Lodge in the Okanagan Room.

Conference Networking & Entertainment On Thursday night, join us for our Meet & Greet event. Relax at the Best Western Vernon Lodge and network with other people working in the forest industry. The TLA is holding their board meeting earlier that day at the hotel and their Directors will be in attendance that night. It will be an excellent opportunity to compare and discuss challenges TLA contractors are facing on the coast and challenges ILA members are facing in the Interior. On Friday, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO), Minister Steve Thomson, will join us as a special guest for our luncheon and will share his insights about the Interior forest sector. This is a great chance to meet the Minister and hear about MFLNRO’s plans for 2015. Again this year, our Western Night Dinner & Dance with Lee Dinwoodie and his band will be held Friday night at the Best Western Vernon Lodge. Come and enjoy a great night of dinner and dancing and, at the same time, support the Canadian Women in Timbers and ILA silent auction. We look forward to seeing you at this year’s 57th Annual Conference and Trade Show. So make a note of the dates and join us for this informative and funfilled three-day event. For more information, check out the registration form on page 31 of this magazine, call the ILA office at 250.503.2199 or visit our website at *Some restrictions apply.

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 11

12 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

Bill Sauer

North West Loggers Association’s MESSAGE

A Reflection On Progress: Forestry Advocacy in BC


ver the many years of contributing to this magazine, and Interior Logger before that, I have written numerous articles about the forest industry. Today, I would like to revisit some of these articles and what—if anything— has changed. I wrote many articles about logging in the Pacific Northwest including the demise of the licensees, the loss of millions of dollars throughout the community, and the ability and fortitude of the logging community to diversify and adapt to ever changing conditions. One significant change I talked about was the movement from a dependence on one or two large licensees to a market driven system. I also addressed the ability of the local First Nations to obtain their own fibre supply and the local small sawmilling community now being able to purchase logs from willing sellers.

once again on the upswing. Clearing for the Hwy 37 hydro line began in earnest and is now complete. Clearing for LNG plant sites and right of way for pipelines is underway or completed. The anticipation of some of these major projects coming to fruition can be reflected in the huge rise in house prices over the last few years. Things have slowed down for the time being but the ability to adapt to the boom and bust times appears to be a Northwest trait. The greying of our workforce and the training of new entrants into the harvest sector gets more topical each year as we all get older. In fact as far back as 1995, the NWLA received money from Forest Renewal BC to commission a study looking at the skill shortages in the area. To date studies have been conducted and training has occurred in some areas but on an inconsistent and piecemeal basis.

The unifying thread is that the associations are working to solve issues, improve the industry and make forestry a career to be proud of. The above topics led into more articles relating to the ongoing discussion on log exports and the position put forward by the North West Loggers Association— the right log going to the right place for the right price. During that time, I also addressed the plight of the Northwest contractors caused by the bankruptcies that brought to a head the inadequacy of the old Woodworkers Lien Act. After many years of lobbying and hard work a Forestry Service Providers Protection Act was finally enacted by the province in 2013. This act has already been used in our area due to some shady “suitcase” loggers with timber sales over the past couple of years. The announcements of billions of investment dollars being infused into the Northwest economy brought excitement and opportunity to even the most pessimistic of residents. Jobs for loggers were

It is an ongoing problem that requires addressing by both the federal and provincial governments, industry leaders and training organizations. Trucking issues are always a factor. When the BC Forest Safety Council was first formed, truck issues were recognized as such a large part of the harvesting sector that a separate division called TruckSafe was formed. Items that were not area specific within the province were, and still are sometimes, addressed by TruckSafe. Hours of work, overloads, speeding, accidents, equipment and design issues, turn around times, road conditions and fatigue are all examples of challenges within the logging truck sector. The provincial logging associations have worked well together over the years. A common theme is safety in the workplace and through the BC Forest Safety

Council we all have a part in spreading the message that every worker has the right to come home safely after a day’s work. Recently, the associations joined with the Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association and the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations to form the Council of Forestry Contractors of British Columbia in an effort to provide a stronger and more unified voice to governments. The thread through all my articles over the years has been to communicate to readers that the associations are working on behalf of their members to solve issues, improve the industry and make forestry a career to be proud of. Looking back over the years, we have made progress. There were only four harvesting fatalities for 2014. While still too many, this is a significant decrease from the 11 fatalities in both 2013 and 2012. The Forestry Service Providers Protection Act is in place and has been successfully accessed. Currently, there is significant work being done to address the labour shortage. While there is still plenty of work for logging associations to do as we represent our members, I think we can be proud of our past accomplishments and we can look forward to many successful years ahead.

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 13

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Jim Girvan


Global Markets and Delivered Log Costs: Keeping Coastal BC Competitive


fairly flat market for forestry in 2015 combined with several factors restricting the coastal harvest means the coastal industry needs to address delivered log costs to stay competitive. In 2014, the total coastal harvest was approximately 18.6 million m3, consisting of 5.3 million m3 from private timberlands and 13.3 million m3 Crown harvest. This level of coastal harvest was down slightly from 2013, but marginally above the average coastal harvest level over the past five years. At face value, this suggests that we are not out of the woods yet (no pun intended) when it comes to taking advantage of growing global markets for forest products and that there is still room to increase and fully utilize the total coastal harvest potential. Log exports totaled approximately 6.3 million m3, or about 34 per cent of all logs harvested on the coast. As with the total harvest, this level was also down from that seen in 2013, but well ahead of the average volume of log exports over the past five years. While harvest levels may be improving, the domestic use of logs is not and significant returns continue to be realized in log export markets. That said, with the data available, it is important to note that 12.3 million m3 of logs were processed domestically in the production of forest products. At the time of writing, total coastal lumber production figures were not in yet, but estimates from Russ Taylor at WOOD MARKETS Group Inc. show coastal lumber production will be about 1.35 billion board feet. If this level of production materializes, it will be up by about 100 million board feet from 2013, but on par with the average lumber produced on the coast over the past five years. According to Russ Taylor of WOOD MARKETS, “the overall market trend in mid-first quarter 2015 shows relatively mixed results. China is flat to lower due to a slowdown in the construction market and high inventories around Lunar New Year. At the same, the 50 per cent devaluation of the Russian ruble since mid-2014

has made Russian lumber (and logs) more competitive in China as compared to many other suppliers, including the BC coast,” said Taylor. He continues, “Japan is also slow as the impacts of last year’s consumption tax increase are resulting in lower overall demand levels. The somewhat bright spot is that US housing starts continue to grind slowly upward. The US GDP outlook still points to 3.2 per cent growth in 2015, its highest level in almost ten years. Together with some bullish housing forecasts out there—WOOD MARKET has a very conservative outlook but still calls for a 10 per cent increase in 2015—the market could get hotter sooner if all things fall into line. However, there are lots of wildcards out there that most likely will create more volatility, so the industry needs to watch out for any of the downside factors that can show up quickly.” On balance, these statistics show a rather level coastal forest industry despite growth in global markets and a surplus of allowable harvest waiting to be taken advantage of. On the positive side, given predictions for looming log supply shortfalls in the BC Interior in the next three to five years, the potential to increase coastal harvest and manufacture of forest products is real. On the downside, however, addressing First Nations land claim concerns within the framework of the Tsilhqot’in Decision and the related impacts the decision is having on both BCTS and cutting permit approvals, balancing log exports with the needs of domestic consumers and uncertainty around the pending softwood lumber agreement expiry in mid-October 2015, all unite to keep a lid on substantial gains in coastal harvest levels this year. But our collective ability to continue to compete in the global market with our wood products still requires a diligent and ongoing focus on the cost of logs and manufacturing efficiency on the coast. All of our livelihoods depend on it. While we can hope for better markets and benefit from our present currency

advantage, neither constitutes a business plan. Markets will be up and down and clearly we are not alone in overseas markets, such as China. We know the BC government is pushing for increased competitiveness of the forest industry. But what does that mean? Pre-harvest development including permit planning, consultation, engineering, cruising and road construction, log delivery including harvesting, trucking and towing, scaling, log storage, silviculture, deactivation and of course stumpage all add up to provide a total all found delivered log cost. For the contractors’ part, road building, harvesting, trucking and towing are all areas where we have direct influence. Keeping the costs of these contributors down by using state of the art equipment, safely trained crews and application of best practices are all part of the equation. But beyond these, there are many other places where collective efforts can be used to make our industry more efficient. Examples may be employing new technologies such as LiDAR to reduce engineering costs and laser scanning technology to lower scaling costs. Higher levels of logistical planning to avoid phase congestion and costly pre-mature road deactivations would result in more efficient use of contractor resources which could mean reductions in average delivered log costs to everyone’s benefit. While we all know that sustainable rates are at the heart of opportunities to remain competitive from the contractor side, we must all work to ensure there is focus on all of the other opportunities. If we don’t, the markets will pass us by as costs rise and production falls. Jim Girvan, RPF, MBA - Principal, MDT Ltd.

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 15

Ken Higginbotham


Harvesting Safely on the Coast: Current CHAG Issues


he Coast Harvesting Advisory Group (CHAG) companies and their contractors continue to work on a variety of safety issues that affect contactors on BC’s coast. Certified Falling Supervisors CHAG continues to work towards having all falling supervisors certified from a safety perspective. The original plan—to have certification in place for all supervisors by the end of 2014—was not achievable for a variety of reasons including training limitations. All of the CHAG licensees (except BCTS) have set timelines for completion of this goal and all will be complete before the end of 2015. CHAG is still working to decide how this commitment applies to small crews such as right-of-way fallers and how it might

apply if a falling contractor from the BC Interior or from out-of-province were to come to the coast. It is likely that the CHAG companies, with support from their contractors, will ask the BC Forest Safety Council to include falling supervision certification in SAFE Company audits in the future. A formal program for re-certification of fallers is still in development but will probably be linked to audits that will be carried out by certified falling supervisors. Program development will be complete by the end of 2015. In the meantime, re-certification of some fallers who have lost certification credentials is underway. Emergency Helicopter Evacuation Work with the BC Ambulance Service,

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rural physicians and federal search and rescue personnel regarding emergency helicopter evacuation continues. Improvements have been made but easy access to search and rescue is still elusive. A meeting of the committee leading this work will occur with Vancouver Island MP, John Duncan, to discuss how progress might be made through political avenues. Our long-term goal is still to have a dedicated helicopter available for this type of work. Fit-to-Fall Initiatives Fit-to-fall initiatives involving fatigue, nutrition and hydration have been well accepted in the falling community. There are some concerns about the cost of such programs to licensees and/or contractors so work is underway to determine less

expensive ways to deliver such programs. CHAG has also asked the BC Forest Safety Council to examine how these activities might be extended to yarding, trucking, road building and other phases associated with coastal harvesting. Danger Tree Assessment Danger tree assessment continues to be worked on. Activities include the possibility of a formal course that might be used to train specialists, falling supervisors or maybe even in the training of new fallers. We are considering whether or not permanent certification is viable or whether periodic re-certification is needed. SAFER is preparing a video that will be used as part of training and as a periodic reminder of the importance of danger tree recognition and decisionmaking. Issues associated with danger tree blasting such as shared powder magazine use and transportation of explosives continue to be worked on.

Steep Slope Harvesting Mechanized harvesting on steep slopes continues to be evaluated with several different machines and machine configurations being examined. At the same time, evaluations of the possibility of lighter loads such as blocks to be carried by personnel who have to climb steep slopes to get cables in place are also being made. Use of helicopters, often in place for other activities, to ferry equipment to tops of slopes is also increasing in frequency. Training and Feedback CHAG is also studying the question of what the term “qualified� means in relation to employees involved in a variety of harvesting activities. The question has implications for training modules, frequency of training, certification and legal situations that may arise. These discussions will also be valuable to work being carried out to attract the next generation of workers in the coastal harvesting sector.

Many other initiatives are underway in this work but, in every case, CHAG members are concerned about how to engage non-CHAG licensees and contractors in the effort. Ideas on how to effectively do this are always appreciated. More About CHAG The Coast Harvesting Advisory Group (CHAG) is comprised of representatives from Western Forest Products, Interfor, TimberWest, Island Timberlands, BC Timber Sales, United Steelworkers Union and the Truck Loggers Association. CHAG continues to make progress on many initiatives designed to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in all phases of harvesting activities in coastal British Columbia. As always, the members of CHAG thank staff from the BC Forest Safety Council for outstanding work in development and implementation of these safety initiatives. Ken Higginbotham is a Project Manager. Questions or comments about the work of CHAG are welcome and can be directed to him at

Plans change. Make effective communication part of your operation. The planning decisions you make today can affect the health and safety of workers tomorrow. Find resources to help prevent accidents and injuries at

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 17

Steve Ross


Bargaining in Good Faith: David Didn’t Stand a Chance


n November 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada established two things in the case of Bhasin v. Hrynew. First, good faith contractual performance is a general organizing principle of the common law of contract. Second, there is a common law duty which applies to all parties to act honestly in the performance of contractual obligations. As quoted in the Journal of Commerce on February 19, 2015:

were delivered on December 23, 2014. In his Reasons for Judgment, Justice Sigurdson stated: [185] The key question on the issue of good faith is whether the defendant, in its negotiation over rates for 2008, was intending to continue the contract or was acting to bring the contract to an end. Put another way, the issue comes down to whether the plaintiffs have proven that the dominant motive of the defendant

The case does provide reason for TLA members to ensure they negotiate rates in good faith and to be vigilant in ensuring that their licence holders do the same. “It is the most significant development in contract law in a generation,” said attorney Brian McLean. McLean learned of the ruling while involved in litigation against TimberWest, Western Canada’s largest privately managed forest land owner. Using Bhasin v. Hrynew, McLean argued TimberWest violated the implied good faith in the contract.” “Before (Bhasin v. Hrynew) it was difficult to argue that there exists an obligation of good faith, specifically if there was no expressed term to that effect,” said McLean. “It’s now open in other areas to consider the applicability of such a principle.” The TimberWest case that lawyer Brian McLean is referring to was decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 0856464 B.C. Ltd., Main Logging Ltd., Geoffrey Lawton Courtnall, and Penelope Olivia Courtnall vs, TimberWest Forest Corp., TimberWest Holdings Ltd., and TimberWest Forest Company (2014 BCSC 2433). This action arose from the unlawful termination of 0856464 BC Ltd.’s harvesting contract with TimberWest Forest Ltd. by TimberWest on January 3, 2008. The trial began January 27, 2014 before the Honorable Mr. Justice Sigurdson, and his Reasons for Judgment

18 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

was to terminate the contracts over a rate dispute, and if so, whether in the circumstances, that is a breach of the contractual obligation of good faith. [293] When TimberWest embarked on negotiating rates in November 2007 there is no doubt that at that time its long-term goal to control costs was securing the right to subdivide the Woodlands contracts. That was a very important goal for TimberWest and had been throughout 2007. It had an active strategy to pursue that objective. Terminations of contracts from rate disputes would put pressure on the union to agree to subdivision. Subdivision was something that TimberWest had sought without success after a number of unsuccessful approaches. [294] The key question in determining whether the defendant negotiated in good faith is whether the execution of that strategy was the dominant motivation for the defendant in its negotiation strategy with Munns, or merely an incidental motive or an ancillary consideration. As noted, there are a number of factors to consider in determining whether the defendant acted in good faith. [310] In sum, I find that in all the circumstances, the defendant breached its contractual obligation to negotiate in good

faith and Munns is entitled to damages for the unlawful termination of the contracts. Justice Sigurdson found that TimberWest breached its contractual obligation to negotiate rates for logging in good faith, and that Munns was entitled to damages for the unlawful termination of the logging contract. The numbered company was awarded $2.75 million, and TimberWest is entitled to a setoff of $1.01 million. Although this judgment is under appeal (TimberWest has appealed the decision and the numbered company has subsequently cross appealed), it is very significant to the contract logging community because it applies the Supreme Court of Canada’s contractual duty of good faith to both the negotiation of logging rates, and to the performance of other obligations under logging agreements, which are long-term contracts of mutual cooperation. At paragraph 169 Justice Sigurdson stated “that the question of whether the defendant breached the obligation to negotiate in good faith involves a careful consideration of the particular facts and circumstances of the case and very much depends on the facts of the case.” While the circumstances surrounding the TimberWest decision were very specific and may not have broad application to other TLA members when negotiating rates, the case does provide reason for TLA members to ensure that when negotiating rates that they do so in good faith, and to be vigilant in ensuring that their licence holders do the same. Stephen Ross is a Partner at Miller Thomson LLP and works out of their Vancouver office. His practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial litigation, forestry law and insolvency law. he can be reached at 604.643.1205 or

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James Byrne

Business MATTERS

Business Relationships: What Should They Look Like?


ravelling across the province and meeting with various forest industry groups, you soon realize there are remarkably similar discussions taking place across the province. As someone who’s listened to these conversations, I realize they are going on between forestry operators on the coast, truckers in the Interior, silviculture contractors in the north and every combination in between. The business owners doing the talking all want to improve their performance and achieve better results. However, they are all confronted with a common issue. And it is not just a sustainable rate—that’s a different story. There’s a common feeling among these business owners that they do not have a good relationship with their customers. Looked at individually, you could write-off each conversation as a one-off situation or a disgruntled operator. But

when the same conversation is taking place in most regions of the province and occurs over and over again, I don’t believe it is an isolated or localized issue. The crux of the issue for these business owners is how unhealthy and counterproductive their interactions are with their customers. Through debate and discussion, the focus eventually lands on this question: What makes for a solid, productive and mutually beneficial working relationship? So what does a healthy business relationship look like? Or, at least, what is it supposed to look like? Obviously, within a customer-supplier relationship the expectation isn’t that it is all give by one party and all take by the other. If a relationship continued in that fashion, it would eventually prove unsustainable and would fail in time.

There are numerous articles on business relations and customer-supplier interactions. However, for me the key factors that apply to the forestry industry and should be considered are the following. Respect Respectful dialogue and negotiations are considerate, straightforward and tactful. People who respect one another value each other’s opinions and contributions. They will consider changing their minds in response to what the other says. Respect is especially important in challenging situations, as it can help individuals focus on problem solving. Where there is not respect for individual efforts and contributions, relationships break down and emotions take over.

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Communication For communication to be effective the type of interaction must suit the message being delivered. Critical types of communication—messages with potentially unclear meanings or emotional content—should be delivered face-toface or, at a minimum, by telephone. These days I think there is an overdependence on communication technology such as emails and text messages. We must remember that several layers of communication are lost in an email— tone of voice, facial expression, body language—that can soften bad news or help explain a problem. Another key part of communication is timeliness. Operations within the forest industry do not happen at the drop of a hat. Communication of objectives and goals needs to be done in a timely fashion to allow for efficient responses and for proper business planning. Interrelatedness At the end of the day, a customer-supplier relationship should provide mutual

benefits to both parties. This occurs when people understand the task at hand and understand how their work affects one another. If one of the parties in the relationship is not willing to consider mutual benefits in their planning, short-term or long-term, the ability to achieve good communication and respect will be difficult. Independence In a good relationship, the customer and supplier should be independent of each other. The supplier should be operating with clear and sufficient information from the customer to produce what is required in a timely fashion. However, the supplier should be operating independently and on their own to deliver to the specified product. Trust This is a basic premise. It is simply the expectation if you are going to do something, you do it. If you are promising to deliver something, you stand behind it. If this does not happen, then there is a short-

fall in respect, communication and interdependence and the entire relationship will fall apart. Many may be chuckling to themselves as they read this and consider their own business relationships. And the fact that some will find this comparison humorous is actually sad. Sad because the business relationship they have with their customer or supplier is so far away from having any of the components discussed above. How does one go about changing the relationship you’re in? That is a great question and one with no easy answer. However, without a change in the relationship, the supply chain is at risk. A risk none of us can afford to take! James Byrne, MBA, CPA, CA is MNP’s Forestry Services Practice Leader for BC. Tel: 250.753.8251 Email:

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 21

Talking to “David” – What the Contractors are Saying

TLA Editorial

Logging contractors filled the auditorium at the TLA’s 72 TLA Convention & Trade Show to hear six veteran forest contractors talk about the challenges they face when investing in their equipment, manpower, training, safety and communities.


ver the past two years both the ILA and TLA conventions have featured the contractor panel, which has provided powerful insights from those on the front lines of logging and log hauling in BC. The 2015 TLA event was no exception! This year’s convention theme was “Investing from the Ground Up” and we heard how each contractor on the panel was investing in their companies, their employees and their equipment. Justin Rigsby of Holbrook Dyson Logging moderated the panel consisting of four coastal and two Interior contractors which offered candid insights on many of today’s industry issues. The panel participants were:

22 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

• Jacqui Beban of Nootka Sound Timber • Ted Beutler of Aggressive Timber Falling • Reid Hedlund of Mid-Boundary Contracting • Graham Lasure of W.D. Moore Logging • Howie McKamey of The Goat Lake Group • Greg Munden of Munden Ventures Ltd. Given the cross-section of contractor experience, age and business interests, it is safe to say that the perspectives shared by this group fairly represents the entire industry. The first question addressed the elephant in the room related to ongoing

difficulties in negotiating sustainable rates for logging, trucking and road building work across BC. When asked, “As a contractor, are you investing into your company to ensure its continued success?” the reviews were mixed. “We are only doing enough to maintain our current investment until we see better times.” ~ “We are investing, but it is challenging sticking to a capital replacement program.” ~ “We have invested heavily in second-growth technology and we are counting on the industry to stay viable. We are hoping that the majors share in their profitability to support us.” ~ “We had to invest in order to protect our company… it was a matter of survival in order to keep things running.” Right from the start of the discussion,

Photo: Brian Dennehy Photography

a theme of caution and perhaps desperation was clearly being formed, detailing the reality of the current difficult conditions where contractor returns are not sufficient to support reinvestment. Delving more deeply into the equipment maintenance and management investments that each was making, the panelists responded with: “We don’t buy anything we can’t pay for outright. It is simply too unstable an environment to carry debt.” ~ “We are currently just maintaining what we have. We have lived off depreciation for years. We should be replacing at hydraulics at 10-12,000 hours but some are at 20,000 plus. We are not willing to invest today.” ~ “We are very disciplined to ensure we standardized our equipment. Use engine

failure as an example. All our transmissions, engines and components are all the same so it minimizes our inventory of parts and downtime.” Mixed responses with some trying to maintain their fleets, while others are holding back. Technological advancements in things such as LiDAR, GPS and remote machine monitoring are on the horizon and have the potential to increase efficiency and productivity in the field. Panel members responded to: “Have you or are you planning to invest in these types of technology in your business, like this: “I love technology and I can see a lot of use for it here, however I don’t currently believe the benefits outweigh the

cost except for some small things such as GPS block location and iPads.” ~ “It is not cheap to convert a fleet and we don’t know where the money is coming from. There is a growing expectation that contractors should use it at their own expense.” ~ “We are currently running GPS in our bunchers today and we are piloting GPS on board recording in our trucks for cycle time analysis for one client. We are hesitant to share with license holders, but feel it should be a shared cost and benefit.” Most saw innovation and technology as important, but when the upside of these investments is not realized, the argument for advancement diminishes, which in a broader senses makes the industry as a whole less competitive. Many contractors want to become

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 23

WOODLAND EQUIP. (BARKO) Client to approve AIP change or send new file.

24 Truck LoggerBC Spring 22 Winter2015 2015

Photos: Brian Dennehy Photography

more efficient, but need help from their licensees to do so. When asked: As a contractor, what are the key things that the majors could do to help improve contractor efficiency and in doing so contribute to the reduction of delivered log costs, the responses included: “I think we have to align our goals so that our relationship is not combative.” ~ “Planning is the most critical aspect of the business. We need licensee support for planning, permitting and continuity of work. Lurching along from permit to permit just doesn’t work.” ~ “Just allow us to be contractors. You routinely hire plumbers or electricians at a fair price and let them do their job. The majors are way too involved and we can be way more efficient if you get out of our way.” ~ “Getting ahead of the game on roads is crucial. Roads are built and the next day the loaders show up which is not working. Roads need to be built a year in advance.” ~ “I think that licensees need to believe we can be efficient and want to lower costs, allow us to get the right equipment and invest in people and training that allows us to be efficient. It may costs something now to reach the long-term goal of reduced overall costs.” In a recent study completed by the TLA, it suggests that a growing industry combined with an aging workforce points to the need for as many as 4,700 new recruits on the coast alone over the next decade. While the TLA continues to work to address this growing employee gap, panel members responded like this to: Is recruitment and training an issue in your company and how have you, as contractors, invested in employee retention and recruitment: “With a new, non-contractor corporate model it allows us to ensure steady employment. This has allowed us to retain and attract workers.” ~ “BC as a whole is not training to replace the faller need, but as a company, we are recruiting and training to maintain our company needs. We can’t attract people if they do not see longevity in the workplace beyond the next bid. This is a real issue.” ~ “We try to give employees good working conditions, respect and flexibility. It seems like it’s not just the new generation that values lifestyle over work, the older generation is nearing retirement and is also leaning this way as they get older and they also need more time off for grandchildren and medical reasons. We never refuse a day

The Investing In Yourself panelists with TLA President, Don Banasky and panel moderator, Justin Rigsby. (Left to right) Howie McKamey, Graham Lasure, Don Banasky, Jacqui Beban, Ted Beutler, Reid Hedlund, Greg Munden, Justin Rigsby.

The most popular session of the entire convention! How to invest wisely in yourself within this business environment is a critical conversation. off.” ~ “Retention has been difficult since 2008 when we could be more flexible. A reasonably secure season with competitive wages is the key to recruitment. $2/

shifts our older generation was accustom to. Scheduling has to change as young people do not want to do this.” Good advice for contractors looking

Planning is the most critical aspect of the business. We need licensee support for planning, permitting and continuity of work. hour will draw employees to other companies.” ~ “Government funding in the Interior for trucking and logging training via the ILA has been very successful. We have taken a driver from the program. The industry has to change as new recruits don’t want to work the 14-15 hour

to hire, but recruitment and ensuring a safe operation go hand in hand. It has been over a decade since the creation of the BC Forest Safety Council. Today, it is fair to say that the culture within our industry and attitudes towards safety have changed. When asked: Within

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 25

26 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

your company, how have you invested in safety and has the investment paid off in terms of productivity and profitability, panelists responded with a cross-section of perspectives. “We have put a lot of money towards safety and SAFE Companies but most of it was forced on us. I can’t really say it has paid off in lowering costs or increasing productivity within our firm. We have always run a safe company with a good record, but that’s not to say we couldn’t have a serious incident tomorrow, anyone could. I believe industry safety needed improvement, however it’s starting to go too far now. The crews are getting overwhelmed and getting fed up.” ~ “Is there a pay-back for the safety investment? Yes, but it is not in our pocket, it is in the peace of mind you have as an employer. It costs money to run effective safety programs and it slows productivity down. Anyone who says safety improves productivity is dreaming. We just need to acknowledge the cost and we have to be compensated.” ~ “Attitudes have changed for the better as a direct result of the BCFSC but has the expense paid off? No. There are significant accounting costs, lost production of crew and supervisors and

training days to remain compliant with a continual stacking of requirements. There is no compensation for this and I am losing the attention of the crew given the multiplicity of requirements that are so onerous! The administrative cost alone is $1/m3 or more aside from lost productivity.” ~ “My crews are overwhelmed by incremental safety policy for the sake of another safety policy. I am concerned the crews are not listening any more”. The pendulum for safety management may have swung too far and perhaps a more balanced approach needs consideration. On the general topic of rates and the use of rate models in negotiations, responses were plentiful and focused on a common theme. “A key point of disagreement in many rate disputes is the hourly rate that is used for each piece of equipment, separate from the discussion about productivity. If machine rates could be agreed upon, I believe a lot of the disputes could be avoided.” ~ “Rates are not the problem. The concentrated control of the public resource has allowed imposition of low rates…this is the issue. If we fixed this problem we could pay higher rates and generate more value for the province.” ~

“The hourly rate model is broken given the Blue Book is not even considered and it is not adequate for the equipment used for logging conditions.” ~ “I am not allowed to see our licensee rate model and really don’t know why. It is a mystery to me as it should be a transparent process.” In the end, each panel member was asked for their final thoughts and their collective responses summarized the trend in the discussions: “I love this business but I will not sacrifice the wellbeing of my company for the industry.” “We need to get to the root of the problem.” “It would be disappointing if my generation was the one that did not continue the business.” “It has to be a partnership to work.” “I am here because I want to be – I like my work.” “I love the industry. I grew up in it, but it is challenging. Without alignment of goals and development of a partnership mentality, things won’t get better.”

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57th ILA Annual Convention & Trade Show – Putting the Membership First

By Steve Thomson, Minster of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations


’m honoured to be writing in backto-back issues of Truck LoggerBC and pleased to help promote the ILA’s 57th annual convention. At the time of writing, I’m celebrating my fourth anniversary of being the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. It has been great to see the forest sector continue its recovery each year since the 2007-2009 downturn. In 2014, forestry was again on the upswing. Total forest product exports reached $12.4 billion – up seven per cent from 2013; and total forest sector employment increased 11 per cent to provide 60,700 direct jobs. Early indications are that 2015 will continue the trend. At the time of writing, Forests for Tomorrow, is also celebrating its 10th anniversary. This program is now the longest running government-funded silviculture program. The program was created in 2005 specifically to reforest areas impacted by wildfires and the mountain pine beetle infestation that would otherwise not be harvested, thus reforested by licensees. To date, government has invested $348 million in reforestation activities, which includes surveying over 1.5 million hectares, planting more than 157 million seedlings on over 124,000 hectares and fertilizing 110,000 hectares. We’re also beginning year three of our 10-year Forest Inventory Strategic Plan. Last year we completed 5 million hectares of new inventory, and this coming year the ministry’s goal is to complete 3 million hectares of new inventory and 3.5 million hectares of new aerial photography in the Prince George and Merritt timber supply areas. The high-resolution aerial images are shared with forest professionals and resource managers. The

ministry is also exploring innovative technological approaches to inventory. Advances in satellite technology allow the ministry to assess forests across the entire province each year; and as remote sensing technology advances, new approaches to forest inventory are being developed. LiDAR is another valuable tool that the ministry is using in remote areas on a pilot project basis with the University of British Columbia and BC Timber Sales. It is also expected that the next generation of the ministry’s Tree and Stand Simulator will greatly improve estimates for complex stands such as those that remain in the aftermath of the mountain pine beetle. The Chief Forester has been revisiting allowable annual cuts in the mountain pine beetle impacted areas to reflect that they need to come down after previous uplifts to encourage salvaging beetle-attacked areas to recover maximum economic value and speed reforestation of these areas. In the last year, allowable annual cut determinations have been released for Mackenzie, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Morice timber supply areas. Timber supply reviews are underway for Quesnel, Prince George, Kamloops and Merritt timber supply areas. These ongoing actions help provide certainty for all operators on the timber harvesting land base. Through the Forestry and Fibre Working Group, we’re looking at ways to increase fibre security for users of low quality and residual fibre and to increase overall fibre utilization. Maximizing what we can use also helps maximize jobs. We remain focused on the future, but at the end of the day, it is the men and

women who make up the membership of any organization that make it great. Loggers are often referred to as the backbone of the forest sector. It is loggers who harvest the trees and bring logs to the mills. In April 2010, my predecessor introduced the Forestry Service Providers Protection Act. The new legislation replaced the antiquated Woodworkers Lien Act. The Act enabled the creation of a fund to protect logging contractors and other forestry service providers in the event of a licensee insolvency. In March 2012, government seeded the fund with $5 million. Since its creation, four claims have needed to be paid out. Regardless, there has always been the recognition that the fund would need to be replenished and need to grow; and I expect to have more news to share with you on this in the near future. Given the current good markets for BC wood products, I hope that the fund is not needed for a long time. Best wishes for a successful convention!

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 29

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Interior Logging Association 57th Annual Conference and Trade Show

Putting the Membership First May 7th, 8th & 9th, 2015 Vernon, BC HOST HOTEL: Best Western Vernon Lodge 3914 - 32nd Street Vernon, BC, V1T 1P1 Tel: 250-545-3385 EVENTS: Inside & Outside Displays (May 8th & 9th) Location: KAL Tire Place - Thursday Evening, Meet & Greet (May 7th) - Friday Lunch, Guest Speaker TBA (May 8th) - Friday Evening, Dinner & Dance (May 8th) - Seminars

For registration and further information, contact the ILA office. Tel: 1-250-503-2199 or E-mail:





TRUCK LOGGERS ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR’S MEETING 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Best Western Vernon Lodge (Okanagan Room) ILA DIRECTOR’S MEETING 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Best Western Vernon Lodge (Room #130) MEET & GREET $45.00 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Best Western Vernon Lodge



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Minister Thomson attended Suppliers’ Night once again and mingled with TLA members and forest industry stakeholders.

Premier Christy Clark gave an inspiring speech about the importance of forestry in BC and her government’s support for the industry.

Dr. Art Hister gave a great talk about men’s health. He was straightforward and informative—and had everyone laughing.

Convention Review: Investing From The Ground Up at the 72nd Annual TLA Convention & Trade Show TLA Editorial


he TLA’s 72nd Annual Convention & Trade Show was a triumph once again. Our theme, “Investing From The Ground Up,” spoke to the challenges facing today’s forest contractors. Combined with engaging speakers, relevant session topics and excellent networking opportunities, the convention created a space for forest contractors and other industry stakeholders to discuss the issues at hand. New this year, we offered three skill development sessions on Wednesday that focused on technical aspects of building your business. All three sessions were filled with delegates eager to understand how their businesses could be enriched. First off, Bjarne Nielsen from

WorkSafeBC talked about what it means to accept the role of prime contractor with particular focus on the legal and financial responsibilities. Then Aaron Sinclair from PNL Consulting provided an overview of what his company achieved for contractors in BC’s Interior around logging and road building rates and how they achieved it. Finally, James Byrne from MNP LLP discussed how to manage your business to maximize your wealth tomorrow based on where your company is on the business life cycle. Delegates left these sessions with information critical to successfully building their business. An entertaining keynote speaker also

joined us on Wednesday. Dr. Art Hister talked about men’s health at the keynote luncheon, “Stay Healthy, Stay Safe.” Hister was genuinely informative while getting big laughs from the crowd. One main takeaway was the importance of walking. Hister couldn’t stress enough how positive an impact 30 minutes of walking each day could have on your health. The biggest keynote of them all, Premier Christy Clark, maintained a time-honoured tradition again this year and hosted the Premier’s Luncheon. Premier Christy Clark, along with the TLA Board of Directors, marched into (Continued on page 51)

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 33

Minister Thomson congratulated the 19 forestry and heavy duty equipment operator students who received TLA scholarships in 2014. A total of $37,500 in scholarships was awarded this year.

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Larry Spencer Terry Basso RPF Wayne Ouellette Rod Powell Paul McWilliams

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The sessions this year were excellent and we had large turnouts at all of them.

This year we raised $94,000 for the TLA Forestry Education Fund. Thank you to all our generous donors and supporters. Premier Christy Clark continues to be impressed with the TLA’s commitment to forestry education.

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Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 35

TLA Board for 2015: (left to right, back row) Mike Richardson, Tim Lloyd, Mark Ponting, Ted Beutler, George Lambert, Carl Sweet, Dave McNaught, Adam Wunderlich, Howie McKamey, Adam Pruss, Clint Parcher, Matt Wealick, Brian Mulvihill. (Front row) Barry Simpson, Doug Sladey, Graham Lasure, Don Banasky, Jacqui Beban, David Elstone, Lukas Olsen.

Carl Sweet

Welcome New 2015 TLA Directors Carl Sweet works for Inland Group in Campbell River. He stopped by with a resume right out of high school and worked his way up from pushing the broom as shop sweep to his role now in equipment sales. Carl knows that Campbell River is the heart of the coastal forest industry and estimates that 75 per cent of his equipment sales are forestry related. The forest industry has allowed Carl to find a good, secure job in Campbell River so he and his wife can raise their children in their hometown. And it’s that hometown feel that Carl likes about the forest industry. “It’s a close knit community,” said Carl. “I have lots of friends in forestry and we all love the outdoors lifestyle and the community.”

Adam Pruss

Mark Ponting

Adam Wunderlich

36 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

Adam Pruss works for Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. He manages all of BC and so operates out of the Burnaby and Prince George offices. “The forest industry is a big part of Ritchie Bros. success over the years. Dave Ritchie had a relationship with a lot of the guys on that wall,” said Adam, nodding to the wall of TLA Past President photos. Adam himself started in the equipment industry by going to BCIT and then working for Finning and then Wajax. In 2005 he joined Ritchie Bros. “My very first territory included Vancouver Island and that’s where I really got to know the TLA members,” said Adam. In general, the people are the big reason why Adam likes working in the forest industry. “The people are open and honest—very welcoming.” Mark Ponting is the owner of Ponting Logging & Grade which operates out of Campbell River and does forest road construction and bridge installation. Mark is fourth-generation—his dad, grandpa and great grandpa worked in BC’s coastal forest industry. “My family came over from Sweden during the WWII to fall spruce trees for airplane construction and we’ve been working in forestry ever since.” Mark runs the company with his wife Nancy. They also have three sons working in the industry. Ponting Logging & Grade has teams operating across the Island and on the mid-coast in places like Bute Inlet and Bella Bella. “We do a lot of travel by boat and airplane,” said Mark. “We’re always seeing whales and bears. I’m lucky. It’s a landscape few British Columbians get a chance to see.” Adam Wunderlich is a managing partner in Fall River Logging based out of Courtenay. Fall River offers full phase harvesting and road construction services on Vancouver Island. Adam initially pursued an engineering degree but soon switched to Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. “The interesting career opportunities within the forest industry appealed to me and I loved the outdoors,” said Adam. “Forestry also offered excellent summer jobs that helped me pay for my education.” Throughout his career, Adam has had the opportunity to work in many diverse aspects of the sector both internationally and across BC. Adam is a registered professional forester as well as a logger. “There are a lot of different aspects to this business. That’s what drew me to forestry and that’s why I stay,” said Adam.

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my summers sailing with my uncle and he showed me the rich history of the BC coastal logging industry and taught me the need for balance between conservation and resource development.” In fact, Elstone’s family has a fair bit of coastal forest industry roots. His mother’s family was involved in various aspects of the industry including logging operations, a small sawmill and a shake and shingle mill. “My great grandfather travelled up and down the BC coast and into Washington State following the logging work,” said Elstone.

Photo: TLA Staff

Being a mountain biker, a forest professional and a TLA advocate, David understands that there are multiple stakeholders operating on the land base. avid Elstone, RPF, joined the Truck Loggers Association (TLA) in January as the new Executive Director after working for 10 years as a financial analyst for ERA Forest Products Research, an independent financial research shop, located on the Sunshine Coast. “As an analyst, I viewed the BC forest industry from 30,000 feet, as part of a broader global industry perspective following world markets and trade,” said Elstone. “Now I’m standing on the stumps alongside coastal forest contractors. I’m excited about this opportunity to be a hands-on part of BC’s coastal forestry.” Elstone studied forestry at the University of British Columbia, in part, because of his great uncle Alvin Fairhurst. “He was a mentor of mine,” said Elstone. “Uncle Al began his career as a forest engineer and ended it as a marine parks planner with the BC government. I spent

38 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

Photo: Brian Dennehy Photography


The Journey to the TLA Elstone started out timber cruising for Weldwood, compassing in Smith Inlet, Clowhom Falls and Squamish. “I spent a lot of time running around in the old growth, taking tree heights and diameters,” said Elstone. “I also worked for Canfor and stayed in the camp now used by Dorman Timber and frequented by TLA President Don Banasky.” Later on in his career, Elstone had the opportunity to run his own company doing watershed restoration work, including landslide rehabilitation and erosion control. “That was fun work, managing a labour crew.” Elstone also helped manage TimberWest’s Forest Renewal BC

David spoke to the media several times during the convention and generated good media coverage for the TLA.

program in TFL 46 and 47, focusing on their enhanced silviculture program. “A highlight of that work was the aerial fertilization of the Douglas fir stands in Johnstone Straits,” said Elstone.

putting a face to the challenge and hearing the stories firsthand can’t be emphasized enough.” So Elstone plans to continue to meet with members and walk their operations regularly over the next

Elstone has already met with Premier Christy Clark and Minister Thomson on several occasions and he plans to continue to do so. After Forest Renewal BC ended, Elstone knew what he wanted to do next. He earned a graduate diploma in business administration from Simon Fraser University to focus on the business side of the industry. “But to understand the industry, you have to understand logs,” said Elstone. So he also took a log scaling and grading course at British Columbia Institute of Technology and worked at the log sorts in Howe Sound to get onthe-ground log experience. With aspirations still for the business side of the industry, Elstone joined ERA Forest Products Research where his passion for forestry and new-found love of data came together. “I filled the role of trying to understand forest product markets in US and Asia.” Elstone analyzed private timberland, log, lumber, OSB, plywood and fibre markets around the world and in doing so was able to understand the supply, demand and pricing of various forest product commodities. “Working at ERA gave me a solid understanding of the world markets and how everything is integrated together,” said Elstone. “Nothing operates in isolation in this industry.” Providing a Return on Investment Given his experience working with investors at ERA, it’s not surprising that Elstone plans to treat TLA members like shareholders. “I want to ensure every TLA member feels they are getting a return on their investment in the TLA,” said Elstone. “That’s my number one focus.” To help him do that, Elstone has been on the ground meeting members and visiting their operations. At the time of writing, he’d already been out to see several operations on the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island. And he has several more lined up. “I know I can advocate better if I have seen the issues and opportunities onthe-ground,” said Elstone. “The value of

several months. “I’m looking forward to our TLA Networking Event in Campbell River this April. It will give me a chance

to touch base with members I met at the convention and get a sense of what’s happening on the mid-Island.” Elstone also encourages TLA members to invite him out to their operations, or even just call him to give their perspective. What He’s Heard So Far So far, Elstone has found that “everyone has a unique take, but there are some common themes that are definitely starting to permeate.” The issues all fall under contractor sustainability: consistency of workflow, phase congestion, rate-related

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issues and more responsibility being downloaded onto the contractor, just to name a few. “When I was running my labour crew, I employed laid-off loggers. I learnt that loggers are hardworking and innovative,” said Elstone. But what he hears and sees when talking to and visiting contractors is that innovation isn’t being rewarded and that is frustrating members. “It’s stunning that an entire section of the forest industry is working hard, finding efficiencies and innovating and they still can’t get ahead,” said Elstone. “When hard work and innovation are not rewarded, frustration inevitably builds.” Where He Plans To Act Elstone has already met with Premier Christy Clark and Minister Thomson on several occasions and he plans to continue to do so. He knows the value of making sure government officials are aware of the challenges facing TLA members and how it will affect the forest industry as a whole. “Advocacy is about making sure the people who make decisions know about your challenges and that you offer them realistic solutions.” It’s also about building and maintaining your reputation. “At ERA, because we were selling a service, reputational capital was all we had. We had to rely on the quality of our data and research,” said Elstone. “This is also true at the TLA. As an advocacy body, all we have is our history and reputation and I’m lucky that the TLA has such strength in both. I’m committed to telling an honest story about coastal contractors and the challenges that they face in the industry right now.” Between regular meetings with members, government officials and the Coast Forest Product Association executive, there won’t be many people in coastal BC that don’t hear his story. This is also true at a national level as Elstone was profiled in the Working Forest newspaper based out of Ontario and wrote the back-page “Final Cut” column for the spring issue of Canadian Forest Industries magazine. Behind the Scenes Elstone and his wife, Astrid Bradbury, have lived in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast for the last 14 years. They have two children, Kate, who is 14 years old, and Marcus, who is 10. “I love the Sunshine Coast lifestyle,” said Elstone. “As a family, we enjoy being part of a

Photo: TLA Staff

Doug Sladey rebuilt this mountain bike trail in his cutblock as part of his commitment to the mountain biking community. It’s this kind of community partnership that makes forestry such a great industry to work in. semi-rural community. We get to have conversations like, ‘As we ate lunch today, a momma bear and her cubs ate theirs from our apple tree just outside our kitchen window.’ It just doesn’t get any better than that!” David’s wife, Bradbury, is a DJ—lining up the tunes for weddings and many community events on the Sunshine Coast. Elstone is also an avid mountain biker. Being a mountain biker, a forest professional and a TLA advocate, he understands that there are multiple stakeholders operating on the land base. “When I visited the Sladey Timber operation, I saw a mountain bike trail in the cutblock. Doug Sladey had proudly rebuilt it as part of his commitment to the mountain biking community. It’s this kind of community partnership and willingness to be involved that makes forestry such a great industry to work in.” It speaks to the balance that Elstone’s uncle taught him—a respect for varied interests, where logging and recreation can co-exist.

r EXHIBITS! o o td u O & r o o d 4 ACRES of In

Photo: Brian Dennehy Photography

Don’t Miss These Exciting Features at the Show: • Health, Wellness & Safety Zone • Northern BC Safety Conference David can’t stress enough the importance he puts on talking to members so he can really grasp the issues he’s advocating about. Membership Call To Action Finally, Elstone wants to stress again the importance he puts on talking to members and seeing their challenges at the worksite so he can really grasp the issues he’s advocating for on their behalf. “Nothing can replace on-the-ground experience and face-to-face conversation,” said Elstone. Members interested in having Elstone visit their operations just need to contact him at or 604.684.4291 ext. 1 and he’ll find a time that works for everyone.

• Demo Zone

For more information, please contact: Mark Cusack, National Show Manager • 1-888-454-7469

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 41

Photo: Courtesy of Selkirk Mountain Helicopters


Helicopter rescue for a forest worker injured on a remote hillside is by no means a sure thing these days. What does that mean for falling contractors in BC?


f you work at a loading dock in Surrey or a sawmill in Prince George and suffer a serious injury it will take about 10 minutes for the BC Ambulance Service to have you in the wagon and on the way to hospital. In less than half an hour you will be receiving expert care from highly trained medical personnel in a state-of-the art hospital. On the other hand, if you suffer a serious injury while working in a remote corner of the Haida Gwaii your experience is likely to be somewhat different. It certainly was for Esko Saarinen. After getting his foot crushed by a falling Sitka spruce in March 2013, Saarinen endured an 11hour odyssey before arriving at St. Paul’s hospital in Vancouver. It would have taken considerably less time, and Saarinen’s suffering would have been lessened significantly, if a helicopter had been available to transport him from the injury site to the nearest hospital in Queen Charlotte City. However, despite the promise of a helicopter from the emergency dispatch personnel to his boss, Timo Jonsson, who was communicating with them, one never arrived. Stories like Saarinen’s are all too com-

42 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

mon in BC. Alphonsus Domalain can tell you about the time he got hit by a whipping tree limb that came at him “like a helicopter blade” when he was falling near Winter Harbour. His injuries

morning. Eventually 442 agreed to send the big Cormorant, but it was an act of mercy because 442’s official role is search and rescue, not emergency evacuation of injured forestry workers.

After getting his foot crushed by a falling Sitka spruce, Esko Saarinen endured an 11-hour odyssey before arriving at St. Paul’s hospital in Vancouver. included four broken ribs and internal bleeding. Thanks to the efforts of his employer, W.D. Moore Logging, and the licensee they were working for, Western Forest Products, a helicopter from 442 Squadron in Comox eventually came and airlifted him to Victoria. But the ordeal took more than four hours and was not without hiccups. Graham Lasure of W.D. Moore says WFP tends to look after its own and within minutes of the injury calls were going out to private helicopter companies in the hopes of securing an evacuation. However, two companies contacted couldn’t supply any kind of machine and another said it could, but not until noon. This was at 9:45 in the

And then there’s the story of Revelstoke’s Travis Schiller who took a fall taking a gantry off a 330, sustaining serious head injuries when he hit the ground. A call to 911 was rewarded with a promise to send a helicopter “but then it got dispatched to a worse situation,” says his brother Blair Schiller, who then decided to manage the situation on his own by ordering a chopper from Selkirk Helicopters. Fortunately one was available and after picking up a pair of search and rescue volunteers from a local ski hill it made its way to the injury site. “We’ve learned over the years that calling 911 is a bust,” says Schiller. And the problem of getting timely

and appropriate transportation and access to health care isn’t just restricted to forestry workers working on remote sidehills, says Graham Lasure. People in remote regions and small communities throughout BC are suffering from service cutbacks to ambulance services and a general failure to provide the kind of medical care people living in Metro Vancouver take for granted. In towns like Winter Harbour, he says, it can take

worth noting that extracting injured workers from remote locations is problematic at the best of the times. We live in a vast province broken up by a series of mountain chains and subject to weather conditions that frequently make the operation of low-flying aircraft impossible. Despite the challenges, Gord Kirk, Director of Dispatch Operations for the BC Ambulance Service, says the BCAS takes its mandate to provide air evacu-

Remote regions throughout BC are suffering from a general failure to provide the kind of medical care people living in Metro Vancouver take for granted. an hour to get a ground ambulance let alone helicopter evacuation. “We have this huge tax base in remote areas and we pay the same for health care but we could die or be permanently injured because we can’t get access to it,” he says. Now before piling on Emergency Management BC in general and the BC Ambulance Service in particular, it’s

ation services throughout the province seriously with its fleet of fixed-wing and four dedicated air ambulance helicopters that is supplemented by contracting out arrangements with 40 pre-qualified charter carriers. But as the Domalain incident illustrates, helicopters of any kind aren’t always available; they could be fighting forest fires in summer or haul-

ing heli-skiers up mountains in winter. What’s more, few helicopters—public or private—are equipped with the kind of longline rescue equipment necessary to extract injured workers from perilous locations. And finally, ambulance personnel are not search-and-rescue trained; they will not and cannot leave the roadside and venture off into the bush. Further complicating matters is the fact that there is no legal requirement for the government to provide emergency air evacuation for personnel working in remote locations. According to Bjarne Nielsen, a senior regional officer at WorkSafeBC, “if an employer feels it is not necessary to have a helicopter as a primary means of getting into or out of a work site then they need to have an appropriate emergency transport vehicle available to take a worker to the nearest hospital.” In other words, if you go out into the woods today the responsibility for getting you out if you get injured rests with you or your employer. All of which explains why companies like


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Western Forest Products keep the contact numbers of local helicopter companies in their Rolodex. Which is fine for those who can afford it, but what about the little guys, the small crews working in remote locations who simply can’t afford to call in a helicopter at the drop of a tree, because somebody has to pay the freight and it is not a government responsibility to do so? It’s a situation licensees empathise with says John Bulcock, Director of Corporate Health and Safety at Western Forest Products and co-chair of SAFER, the forest-industry sponsored Safety Advisory Foundation for Education and Research. “If the government can’t afford it, how does a small contractor?” he says. “How do you rationalize the dollars in a life and death situation? A seriously injured worker can cost millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime. That would pay for helicopter services for a year.” His solution to the problem is fourfold. First, and this can’t be stressed enough he says, there is an ongoing need to develop and maintain a safety cul-

ture that prevents serious injuries from occurring in the first place. Secondly, personnel working in forestry, especially first aid attendants, need to learn how to communicate effectively with emergency services when injuries oc-

responded in the past to these kinds of situations, and the crews are invariably willing to come and are heroic in the performance of their duties when ordered to do so, their mandate does not officially include this function. And finally, the in-

People injured in remote parts of BC are citizens of BC and have the inherent right to receive the same level of care as everyone else. cur. They need to understand the kinds of questions dispatch personnel are going to need answered before they can assign appropriate transportation. “As an industry we have not communicated effectively with ambulance services,” says WFP Senior VP John Mann. “We recognize that at Western Forest Products and we are working on improving those communications.” Thirdly, Bulcock and Mann would like to see the mandate of the RCAF’s 442 Squadron in Comox expanded to include emergency extraction of injured workers. Although it has

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dustry would benefit from having a dedicated helicopter equipped with longline rescue equipment based somewhere it can effectively serve the widest theater of operations. Bulcock suggests central Vancouver Island, which would also allow access to the central coast. “People injured in BC are citizens of BC and have the inherent right to receive the same level of care as everyone else,” says Bulcock, adding that the biggest stumbling block on the way to providing that care is an understanding of the problem. “Nobody can be characterized

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as not wanting to make a difference. I can’t think of anyone, politicians included, who doesn’t believe a boy dying on a hillside does not need and deserve help, but we need to move the conversation forward and find some solutions.” Currently, the Coast Harvesting Advisory Group (CHAG) which is made up of forest industry companies and organizations and supported by BC Forest Safety Council, is working with BC Ambulance Service, rural physicians and federal search and rescue personnel to address injured worker evacuation. (More information is available about CHAG and this work in the Safety Report on page 16.) In the meantime, forestry personnel working in remote locations would do well to heed the advice of Gord Kirk of the BCAS and have a plan. Make sure you have the right equipment to communicate wherever you are—cellphone service is notoriously patchy in remote areas—and “be aware that satellite phones will not dial 911.” Once communication is established, personnel at the injury site need to be able to communi-

cate effectively with dispatch personnel about the nature and extent of injuries and also be able to pinpoint exactly where the injured person is located. He adds that it’s a myth that you need a doctor on site to approve emergency air evacuation. “Completely false,” he says. As for the time factor, it’s rarely going to happen at the drop of a hard hat. If emergency search and rescue personnel or longline extraction methods are called for, it’s going to take time to organize and deploy the required assets. If private helicopter companies are involved, somebody is eventually going to get a bill. At least that’s the way it is today. Hopefully through negotiations and discussions between government and industry something can be done to make it less of an ordeal for workers in isolated locations and the citizens of small communities to get the kind of medical attention they need and deserve in a timely manner.

Proof That Helicopter Cost Savings Are A False Economy Proof that not providing emergency helicopter services to workers in remote locations amounts to false economy is provided by a paper written by University of Northern BC business administration student Roberta Squires in 2014. In it she states that: “Injuries to workers in BC result in the loss of more economically productive years than heart disease and cancer combined and cost nearly $2.8 billion per year. Nearly three quarters of people who die of trauma-related conditions in Northern BC do so before they can be brought to a hospital; 82 per cent in Northwestern BC, compared to 12 per cent in Metro Vancouver.”

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 45

Urban-Rural Interface: The Evolution of Community Consultation By Robin Brunet

This cutblock in White Lake ran into strong opposition. Community consultation helped find a middle ground that everyone was happy with. The ribbons identify trees left specifically to minimize the visual impact and meet the biodiversity requirements.


orm Kempe didn’t make the decision to discuss community consultation at the TLA’s 72nd Annual Convention and Trade Show lightly. What the BC Timber Sales planner had to say was informed by years of working in urban interface forests, where public interest concerning the management of non-timber values such as fish, wildlife, scenic viewscapes and recreation is considerable. Kempe, 55, knows that patience and honesty are the best tools in winning over logging opponents or at least diffusing their anger. But the always-busy planner took to the microphone because he fears misinformation is causing an increasing number of people to dismiss logging out of hand, especially in the more populated areas of southern Vancouver Island. “It’s a problem when you encounter folk who still harbour the perception that forestry contributes to deforestation and ecological destruc-

46 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

tion and when the belief system takes on more significance in a lot of conversations than the facts. In my view, it’s more important than ever to make consultation processes as informative as possible

published ‘Making Public Participation More Effective: Lessons from BC’s Resource Management Processes.’ In reviewing six case studies, the 12-page report noted that “Many people made

It’s a problem when you encounter folk who still believe forestry contributes to deforestation and ecological destruction. for the public and affected stakeholders.” Public consultation is nothing new. Legislated requirements to hold public hearings or information seminars about land use planning have been in place for decades, and foresters frequently go above and beyond these requirements in developing consultative mechanisms. Suggestions to improve the process are nothing new either. In 2003, the University of Northern British Columbia’s College of Science and Management

impassioned arguments that consultation must be meaningful. They argued that it must occur early enough in processes to allow input that might shape the process and resultant plans.” The report also stated that the public is concerned about the clarity of consultation and who is selected to participate. “If they feel they have a valued role and they can see tangible outcomes from local involvement, they will be willing to contribute over the long term.”

Courtesy of Colin Johnston

The report advised, “information must be available at the start of the process in order to create a level playing field among participants, and it must also be available throughout the process.” Additionally, “A good deal of the frustration experienced by all parties could be mitigated by setting forth at the outset an outline of expectations. Even where there is uncertainty about one or more issues, as long as all parties have the same understanding of expectations going into the process they can deal with changes to those expectations as the process evolves.” For those who didn’t attend the TLA convention, Kempe’s presentation, “Efficiencies in Community Consultation – Getting To Yes!” echoed many of the UNBC report’s sentiments and were based partly on his recent public discussions about logging plans on Mount Elphinstone and Maurelle Island (which resulted in “very successful” timber sales). With regards to the BCTS’s Sunshine Coast operations (which support a cut of

300,000 cubic metres annually), Kempe stressed that an effective process flags major issues in advance and provides information either unknown or not fully appreciated by planners. Timelines for a consultation process must be reasonable. “Eight to 12 weeks seems to work well in most situations, but one has to maintain a degree of flexibility around this when issues are complex and challenging,” Kempe stated. There are two basic approaches to consultation: open public consultation and targeted consultation—each approach with its own pros and cons. Kempe added that the basic rule “is to consult broadly and transparently among stakeholders to gain a full understanding of the issues at play”. Other advice and observations from Kempe: • Where there is a high likelihood of affecting key stakeholders, consultation should happen early on in the planning process. • The process should always remain

proportionate to the expected scope and impact of planned activities. • Elements of a plan that are open for consultation and those that are not should be clearly communicated. • It’s possible to over consult, the result being that one can get drawn into discussions with diminishing returns. • Many forest companies (BCTS included) now make detailed road and cut-block plans available to the public and consult broadly with this information. “While not legally required, it makes good business sense.” Kempe also addressed the TLA: “I would encourage all members to maintain an active interest regarding the management of our forests. Make your views known, have them seriously considered: that is the essence of effective community consultation.” Although BCTS is involved in the early stages of consultation for several

Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 47

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contentious logging plans, it can point to recent successful outcomes that give credence to Kempe’s advice. Arguably the best outcome of community consultation in the Okanagan Columbia was White Lake, where in 2012 the BCTS ran into strong opposition for

Residents Association announced that after three months of negotiation with BCTS, the forests ministry and thenMLA George Abbott, logging would proceed. The turning point in the negotiations had come when the ministry told the WLRA that the BCTS plan

Forest professionals are responsible for balancing all of the values that must be managed in the working forest. its plan to harvest above a residential area. Of greatest concern was a 16-hectare block directly behind the White Lake community hall, and this galvanized citizens—supported by a local environmental group—to voice their complaints to the press. Colin Johnston, RPF, BCTS’s Woodlands Manager of Okanagan Columbia timber sales, notes that his organization was careful to develop the strongest possible plan before going to the public (the professionals employed by BCTS are responsible for balancing all of the values that must be managed in the working forest). In January of 2013, the White Lake


was consistent with the consensus based Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP), which guides activities in the working forest. Once a clear understanding of the LRMP objectives was gained, it was possible to focus on the plan; this compelled all parties to work effectively together to build the best plans. “And the outcome was great,” says Johnston. Changes included adjusting boundaries, increasing buffer zones between the blocks and private land, changing road and landing locations to minimize trail impacts, and altering logging schedules. Kempe cites Maurelle Island as another win for BCTS thanks to effective community consultation. On that proj-


ect, the main opponent was the tourism sector, whose representatives were concerned that logging would ruin scenic viewscapes and, by extension, their business. “We met with representatives of the tourism sector at their places of business and on the project site itself to gain a better appreciation of that sector’s concerns, and to work out an operational plan that would suit both parties,” Kempe says. When the discussions wrapped up in 2013, BCTS agreed not to log during peak tourism times; barge logs out instead of watering them; maintain a substantial buffer along the shoreline; and design block boundaries to keep the visual impact at the low end of the partial retention alteration limits established for this area. Total harvest: 84,000 m3 along Okisollo Channel, across three blocks. Consultation when effective provides constructive education for all parties involved. When opponents are given the straight facts about logging plans, their fears are somewhat diffused; and by becoming involved in the planning process they gain a sense of ownership. The length of the consultation process notwithstanding (the Maurelle project required two years of talks altogether),

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Photo: Brian Dennehy Photography

Courtesy of Colin Johnston

Norm Kempe fears misinformation is causing an increasing number of people to dismiss logging out of hand.

Looking up at the White Lake cutblock from the highest visual impact spot in the community post-harvest. Some of what you see at the top of the photo is not harvesting but natural rock outcrops with sparse timber. The block blends in perfectly.

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is it really that simple to change public opinion? Taken at face value, the outcomes suggest that honest communication is every bit as powerful in swaying opinion as the hyperbole from special interest groups. Kempe tends to agree with this thesis. “When I meet the public, the discourse that ensues is usually very civil. Sure, there are people with their minds made up, but a great many are also interested in learning the facts.” Jeff Fukumoto, BCTS’s RPF timber sales manager,
Okanagan Columbia Timber Sales Office, notes that “For the most part, people really come around when they actually see what’s happening on the ground.” This sentiment is supported by Bryon Every, president of the White Lake Residents Association, a key player in the White Lake consultative process: “For example, I attended an inspection of new roads being built above the south end of the lake, and I was able to see that BCTS was ensuring the logging plans were strictly followed.” Johnston, Fukumoto and their colleagues have been inspired by White Lake and other successes to improve the consultative process wherever possible. “We were gratified that almost all parties in the White Lake consultation process were satisfied with the outcome of harvest and felt like their concerns were fairly addressed,” says the latter. Overlapping and at times competing interests on the land base demand an increased level of discussion and transparency between the forest sector and

Convention Review

Courtesy of Colin Johnston

other stakeholders and citizens of the province. Kempe states, “I don’t think there is a single best approach to community consultation – there likely isn’t one. In my experience, the specific circumstances at play and degree of public/ stakeholder interest will determine how a consultation process unfolds. Ultimately, it’s about appreciating we are not the only ones with an interest on the land base, as well as maintaining the right attitude regarding the interests of others.”

Aerial photo of the White Lake cutblock the summer after harvest was completed.

(Continued from page 33) the Crystal Ballroom at the Fairmont Empress Hotel to the tunes of a live bagpiper and a standing ovation from the crowd. She gave an inspiring speech and tried out a new joke about New Democrats and teenagers that got a big laugh. After the press scrum, she took time to admire the new Carihi Forestry Education bus which was partially funded by a $10,000 grant from the TLA Forestry Education Fund. The Premier continues to support forestry education in BC and was happy to see the TLA’s enduring commitment to it. Minister Thomson showed his steadfast commitment to the TLA by hosting the Minister of Forests Breakfast and coming back that same evening to attend Suppliers’ Night. In the morning, Minister Thomson gave an excellent speech about his ministry’s forest policy and where he sees the forestry industry headed in 2015. He then congratulated the TLA scholarship winners—many of whom were in attendance. The TLA Forestry Education Fund awarded $37,500 in scholarships this year. Two of those scholarships were new this year and created through a partnership with the TLA Forestry Education Fund and Chevron. These $5,000 scholarships are available to students in the Heavy Equipment Operator program at Vancouver Island University. “We know equipment operators are in demand and will be even more so in coming years,” said Don Banasky, TLA President. “It makes sense for the TLA and Chevron to get behind this program and support students interested in working as machine operators in the coastal forest (Continued on page 54)

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Heavy equipment operator scholarship winners pose with Minister Thomson and Chevron representatives. Convention

(Continued from page 51) industry.” This year’s recipients were Jesse Creighton and Breanna Thompson. From Sooke and Gabriola Island respectively, both plan to work in BC’s coastal forest industry when they graduate. Minister Thomson was also among the 1,000 delegates who attended Suppliers’ Night this year. Suppliers’ Night, the biggest night of the convention, is an opportunity like none other to network and do business within the forest industry. It’s

also the night for the live and silent auctions that support the work of the TLA Forestry Education Fund. We had a banner year this year and raised $94,000 for the Fund. Thanks again to our generous donors and to those who took part in the auctions at the event. The TLA’s forestry education work would be impossible without your support. All of our sessions were well attended and highly praised this year but the most popular was “Investing In Yourself: The Contractors Perspective.” In this session

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six veteran contactors spoke about the successes and challenges they’ve faced when investing in equipment, manpower, training, safety and their communities. For more about this session, read “Talking to ‘David’ – What The Contractors Are Saying” on page 22. Another much talked about speaker was Melinda Morben, RPF who works as a supervisor in the Production Harvesting Department of Island Timberlands. Morben gave an engaging and inspiring talk about the importance of attracting women into the forest industry. She talked about leading by example. Don’t preach the equal gender opportunity— show it. We also saw a new generation of women at the convention this year. The Ladies Luncheon was a huge success this year with 90 attendees—up from 50 last year. Cea Sunrise Person, author of North of Normal, told the captivating story of counter-culture childhood in the Canadian wilderness before launching an international modeling career at the age of 13. Finally, we had excellent media pickup during the convention. David Elstone, TLA Executive Director, and Justin Rigsby, Holbrook Dyson CFO, spoke on Chek News. Andrew Duffy, the forestry reporter for The Times Colonist, wrote an article about forest contractors that ran on the front page of the Business Section. We also had a piece recognizing David Elstone in the Coast Reporter and radio news coverage. Check out the TLA website ( to see a current list of TLA media coverage. Next year the convention will be back in Vancouver at the Westin Bayshore on January 13-15, 2016. We hope to see you there!



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Spring 2015 Truck LoggerBC 55

56 Truck LoggerBC Spring 2015

Truck LoggerBC, Spring 2015, Volume 38, Number 1  

Truck LoggerBC magazine is a voice for the BC's harvesting sector of the forest industry.

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