Work on a fibre recovery program by a company owned by the Ulkatcho First Nation is well underway.
West Chilcotin Forest Products (WCFP) was one of eight expedited fibre recovery projects funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) earlier this year.
Operations Manager for FESBC Dave Conly said they’ve moved approximately 15,000 cubic meters so far.
“It’s a multi-year project and the total volume associated with this will be determined by the actual cutting permits and blocks that are harvested through the course of the next couple of years,” Conly said.
“We’re estimating approximately 20 percent of the harvesting volume normally be left behind, so we’re hoping to be able to recover the majority of that in terms of usable fibre.”
The fibre recovery program is enabling West Chilcotin Forest Products to increase utilization of non-merchantable and undersize logs by providing, economic support for the cost of harvesting and hauling of the pulpwood to Bella Coola to then ship to the Harmac Pacific pulp mill in Nanaimo.
$900,000 will be invested in the project over several years, and Conly said they have currently invested approximately $50,000 of that.
As a result, cull piles are now smaller, and less material is burned as waste in cut blocks. Usually, non-merchantable fibre is left in piles along forest roads and is legally required to be burned.
“This program has many benefits for the area that would not be a reality without this funding,” Stephen James, Executive Director of WCFP, said in a news release.
“We’ve been able to contribute to economic benefits for the west Chilcotin area through increasing the number of good jobs – a total of approximately 20 full-time positions for local harvesting companies, log haulers, and pulp mill workers. Plus, we are forging strong relationships with the community of Bella Coola, the Bella Coola Community Forest, and Harmac Pacific.
“This is a good news story for our area and for the community members.”
Also having received funds this earlier year by the FESBC is Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation formed by Tsi Del Del (Alexis Creek) and Tl’etinqox (Anaham) First Nation.
Conly said that project is also moving forward and utilizing wood in a similar manner between the Alexis Creek/Hanceville area.
(Editor’s Note: Listen to FESBC Operations Manager Dave Conly in the audio below)