Loggers make appeal to Grits

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Truck Loggers Association (TLA) has made a series of recommendations to the province aimed at renewing prosperity to the coastal forest industry.

The report was a compilation of ideas from TLA’s annual convention, Renewing Prosperity: An Industry in Action.

“The convention brought together business, government and industry leaders to develop recommendations that covered the gamut of issues currently plaguing the coastal forest industry,” says TLA president, Rick Jeffery. “If there was one overriding theme that emerged again and again, it was this tremendous sense of urgency to bring on the necessary changes.”

The top priority, according to the TLA, is to immediately introduce an interim stumpage system based on the Market Pricing System Hemlock Pilot for one year, while the province designs a new market-based stumpage system.

Forestry Minister, Mike de Jong, was on hand at the conference and seemed to agree with the suggestion.

“Nowhere is a move to a market-based stumpage system more necessary than on the coast (and) while we want the development of new stumpage systems on the coast and in the Interior to be guided by the same principles, it may be that there is a stronger argument for moving faster on the coast,” says de Jong.

However, the TLA says there has been little action since that encouraging remark by de Jong.

“Despite the Minister’s acknowledgement in January of the urgency of the coastal situation, there has been no action to implement a market-based stumpage model,” says Jeffery. “Seventy-five per cent of our members are still idle and they can’t afford to wait any longer.”

Other top priorities contained in the report are the requirement of government to shape forest policy reform cooperatively with industry and to refrain from any concessions with the U.S. involving a freeze on forest policy changes over the ongoing softwood lumber dispute.

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