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Opinion: Pines cleared from Site C could help with B.C. Christmas tree shortage

This is not as stupid as it sounds
sitec-christmas-tree
Holiday cheer c/o Site C?

Fires, floods and highway damage have led to a potential Christmas tree shortage in Vancouver and across B.C., coinciding with the burning of "wood debris" at Site C dam project sites on the Peace River. While these things aren't related one problem could help to solve the other.

BC Hydro announced on its website and social media that debris burning is taking place December 2-6, and it got me thinking there might be a business opportunity here - and an opportunity to push carbon into the atmosphere just a little bit more slowly.

Hear me out. I swear this isn't as stupid as it sounds on its face.

Our electricity utility states that they're presently clearing about three-quarters of the vegetation on the footprint of the Site C project. Seeing as it's a 9,330-hectare footprint that's around 7,000 hectares of brush, trees and... little trees. Six-foot-tall Christmas trees!

BC Hydro also says they're removing vegetation on the site to "prepare for river diversion, ensure boater safety, and reduce impacts to dam construction and operations."

Regarding the timber that's being felled, they "haul merchantable trees to local mills," and their "ability to sell the trees is based on factors such as size, species, and location. Closures of local mills or capacity limitations of mills, and limited road access to some clearing areas can reduce [BC Hydro's] ability to haul away some of the trees."

Nobody mills trees that are six feet tall, as there's just not enough wood on them. The ones that are Christmas tree-sized at Site C are most certainly not "merchantable" and will be going onto slash piles to be burned. They are of no monetary value at this point.

But what if in the future, as Christmas tree shortages run up the price of these things, it becomes worth it for entrepreneurs to haul away the smaller ones and sell them to the public as Christmas trees. This would allow BC Hydro and other energy companies who are clearing mass amounts of trees and brush for their projects (Trans Mountain, for example) to burn less "debris" and reduce their carbon footprint.

Over the years we've seen the rise of fake Christmas trees as well as trees that are re-planted after Christmas.

Why not make salvaged Christmas trees a thing, as a positive byproduct of big energy projects in B.C.?