By: Vernon Morning Star
Local politicians are welcoming what they call a new relationship with logging companies.
Tolko Industries made a presentation to the Regional District of North Okanagan board Wednesday, and director Mike Macnabb says that’s a result of communities across the province feeling they are being ignored by the industry.
“The message sent loud and clear from the Union of B.C. Municipalities to the provincial government, and passed on to the companies, is they need to communicate,” said Macnabb.
In his presentation, Tom Hoffman, Tolko’s manager of external and stakeholder relations, acknowledged the concerns coming from UBCM.
“We’re here to rectify this situation,” he said, adding that he wants to have further discussions with RDNO.
“We’re interested in working with the board and communities.”
As part of harvest planning, Tolko has a referral process and seeks input from various agencies such as municipalities and regional boards.
“We’re transparent. We need to make our plans public and we have nothing to hide,” said Hoffman.
Michael Bragg, woodlands manager, points out that local input also provides the company with information on geography and water courses.
“We’re communicating a lot more with people,” he said.
“We want to communicate a lot more before (harvest) ribbons are hung.”
Beyond harvesting, Tolko is dealing with the possibility of B.C. Hydro not renewing agreements with co-generation facilities, such as the one at the Spallumcheen mill.
“We’re struggling,” said Hoffman.
“Everyone is talking about green energy but there are no markets.”
Britain’s decision to withdrawn from the European Union is also having a ripple effect on the pellet sector.
“The whole pellet and green industry are driven by policy and Brexit slowed that interest,” said Hoffman.