Forestry workers, contractors and First Nations in and around Clearwater, Vavenby and Adams Lake will benefit from the transfer of Canfor’s Vavenby forest tenures to Interfor.
“Under the previous government, companies could trade tenure like they were hockey cards, and the people impacted were often the last to find out — even when it resulted in the loss of hundreds of jobs,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Our government brought in changes so that the needs of Indigenous Nations, workers and communities would have to be considered before a transfer would be approved. The official Opposition voted against those changes. That says a lot about where their priorities lie, which isn’t with rural communities in B.C.”
As a result of this transfer, Canfor has committed to create a $200,000 legacy fund with the District of Clearwater to be used at the district’s discretion. In addition, Canfor will provide $150,000 over five years to the United Way and will provide $500,000 in funding to the Wells Gray Community Forest.
Effective Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, the approval is for the transfer of Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 18 and replaceable forest licence A18688, located in the Kamloops Timber Supply Area near Vavenby, from Canfor to Interfor. The two licences have a combined allowable annual cut (AAC) of approximately 349,000 cubic metres per year. This includes an AAC of approximately 164,500 cubic metres per year from TFL 18 and approximately 184,500 cubic metres per year from A18688.
“I talked with community leaders when I was in Clearwater, and they were clear that this tenure transfer means people in their communities will continue to have jobs,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Transfer of these tenures provides a stable wood-fibre supply for the Adams Lake sawmill and Interfor’s Adams Lake division that will help those operations continue to provide jobs in the region for years to come.”
The decision follows comprehensive engagement — including considerable response from the citizens of British Columbia, local governments and Indigenous Nations — to help the minister understand the extent of public interest in the transfer and to ensure it is not detrimental to the marketing of wood fibre in B.C.
Further requirements include the need for Interfor to continue discussions with local secondary and value-added manufacturers in the North and South Thompson on log purchasing and wood-fibre supply agreements. Interfor must also work with displaced woodlands employees on further opportunities for employment.
This is the second time Donaldson has approved a forest tenure transfer since Forest Act changes were passed in 2019. Last year, the minister approved a transfer between Hampton and Conifex that transferred tenure in the central Interior, with the requirement that Hampton would rebuild the sawmill in Fort St. James within three years.