There was some potentially encouraging news from the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. at this week’s City Council meeting in Quesnel.
Gord Pratt, Senior Manager with FESBC, talked about the potential for some of the 50-million dollars just announced by the province to access primarily fire damaged wood to end up in Quesnel.
“We’re looking at that as kind of the opportunity to increase the utilization of fibre that’s outside the economic reach of facilities like Cariboo Pulp. We are in the process of determining the criteria for that. More details will be coming out after the provincial budget. We were just notified of this announcement as well and we expect to be accepting applications for funding in the near future, probably around April.”
Pratt also talked about how they have worked with that company in the past.
“A big partner with us, there is a lot of fibre out there that is outside the economic reach, and we’ve provided about 4.6 million dollars to Cariboo Pulp to allow them to bring more fibre to their facility up until the end of March 2022 to utilize that fibre that would normally be burnt. We’ve done a little bit of work out in Barkerville, fibre utilization as well as wildfire risk reduction.”
Pratt says they will move as quickly as they can, but he says they are now looking to the upcoming season.
“We’re doing a little bit to see if we can help this winter before break-up, but it’s probably going to be very minimal, as most people have their harvesting plans all in place and their hauling plans. But we do expect that anybody that can use our funding, the applications will be in this spring, with the intention that we will be able to assist with the summer and the winter haul next year.”
This news come in the wake of Cariboo Pulp’s announcement this week that it will be shutting down twice for one month, once in mid-April and the other in the third quarter, due in part to a lack of sawmill residuals.
That was part of a much bigger report that was delivered to Council.
Other information of note included a summary of what FESBC has done in not only Quesnel, but the Cariboo region.
“Out of our 263 million that we’ve allocated and completed projects across the province, we’ve done about 113 million and change in the Cariboo region. 1.7 million was directly here in Quesnel on the wildfire risk reduction, and out to the west we’ve done some wildfire risk reduction projects with Nazko to the tune of around 1.4 million. FESBC isn’t all about wildfire risk reduction though. We have five primary purposes. Those purposes include fibre utilization, reducing carbon impacts across the province, improving wildlife habitat, improving stand conditions, and reducing wildfire risk.”
Pratt says they’ve spent around 19 million dollars on fibre recovery, 50 million in planting and reforestation efforts primarily in the wildfires from 2017 and 2018 across the Cariboo, a little bit in the Alkali and Alexis Creek area in regards to habitat enhancement, 16.5 million on some stand rehab out in primarily the Chilcotin, and 27.8 million on wildfire risk reduction.
He also talked about 7.7 million dollars that will be spent in the Cariboo region this year, including 529 thousand dollars that will be going to the City of Quesnel.
Erin Robinson, the Forestry Initiatives Manager with the City of Quesnel, said that money would be spent on prescriptions at Kersley, Baker Creek and the Wonderland Trails, adding that they were still running an operation in Pinnacles Park as well.