As many of our stakeholders know, the BC Government is undertaking a public consultation process focussed on setting parameters for converting some volume based tenures in the province to area-based. Canfor understands that the brief consultation process is part of Minister Steve Thomson’s mandate letter and we hold Minister Thomson and his officials in the highest possible regard.
However, B.C.’s interior forest sector is undergoing a significant transformation in the wake of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, and in our view, this is absolutely not the time for major changes to tenure administration.
Government and industry must focus on understanding what timber is available and what adjustments are needed in primary manufacturing. We feel the benefits of area-based tenures are marginal at best and that there are many higher priorities that would yield greater positive impacts. More importantly, the public opposition to this proposal is a deal breaker. As far as Canfor is concerned, the risk of aligning the public against B.C.’s largest forest companies outweighs any marginal benefits of expanding area-based tenures.
Our focus is to make sure we have access to enough fibre to meet the needs of our customers, and we need the support of British Columbians to operate on public land. Canfor would only support a fully transparent process that is fair to all licensees and involves sufficient public involvement so we could be confident it has support of British Columbians.
If government moves to an area-based tenure process, Canfor would participate in order to protect our interests. But we would do so reluctantly. We consider it a needless diversion of vital government staff time – and our own staff time – away from higher priorities.
We believe that government resources should be focused on maintaining the health of the interior forest sector, completing an updated forest inventory to support planning and decision making, resourcing smaller tenure holders and the B.C. Timber Sales program so they can access their tenure volume, and assisting communities with any necessary rationalizations in primary manufacturing.
President and CEO, Canfor Corporation