A North Okanagan forestry company is lauding the provincial government for launching a new program that will ensure access to the provincial timber supply for manufacturers that make value-added products.
The BC Timber Sales Value-Added Manufacturing program will be available to small and medium sized secondary manufacturers producing high-value products such as mass timber, plywood, veneer, panelling and flooring.
Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston said in a statement the program will make for a stronger, more resilient forestry industry through value added manufacturing.
North Enderby Timber agrees.
“We are encouraged to see government set policy that will improve fibre flow to the value-added sector. We appreciate the work that has gone into making this improvement, and encourage government to continue securing fibre needs for facilities like ours,” said Warren Carter of North Enderby Timber.
The B.C. government statement notes that value-added wood products are in increasing demand as alternatives to carbon-intensive construction products like cement.
The growing demand has resulted in steady job growth and market expansion, and the plan is for the new program to accelerate further expansion.
BC Timber Sales will initially dedicate 10 per cent of its timber supply to the program for licensees to bid on, with more volume expected in the future.
“As we continue taking strides to get more jobs from our forests, ensuring value-added wood manufacturers have a dedicated fibre supply is crucial to our work to building a clean and inclusive economy that works for everyone,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “This initiative builds on our new BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, which will invest up to $90 million in companies that create new jobs for people by investing in high-value projects, with a focus on communities dependent on forestry.”
The statement notes that while overall harvest levels in the forestry industry have decreased over the past decade, employment in the value-added sector has grown by about 35 per cent since 2012.
The program will be restricted to facilities that have minimal or no forestry tenure and are accredited as value-added secondary manufacturers.