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Kamloops urges province to take swift action on fibre supply, forest fuels

City council backs call for measures to clean up forest fuels and improve timber industry sustainability
The Kruger pulp mill in Kamloops.

Kamloops council has agreed to send the province’s minister of forests a letter advocating for measures that pulp mill representatives say would increase fibre supply while cleaning up forest fuels and preventing fires.

Thomas Hoffman, fibre manager for Kruger Kamloops Pulp L.P., told council at its Tuesday meeting the mill brought value to nearly 1.4 million cubic metres of fire-affected wood in 2023.

“There’s no other pulp mill in the province that accomplished that,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said the industry is looking for the province to expedite timber salvaging permits, ensure full access to allowable annual cut for licensees, and develop “an aggressive forest fuel risk reduction program” to mitigate wildfire damage.

He said within 200 kilometres of Kamloops sit four million cubic metres of fire-affected fibre that hasn’t been scheduled for harvest.

Coun. Margot Middleton said she sees “mountains of slash” that also appear to be left in some areas.

“As we see the fire-affected wood potentially going to waste as they’re not harvesting it in a timely fashion, what about the existing slash and burn piles that are evident all over logged areas? … How much of that waste would still be good for fibre if it were not just put in a burn pile?” Middleton asked.

Hoffman said the mill is working hard with its suppliers to address the issue, adding he’d like to see more incentives for companies to take out the brush.

Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson said he found some time last year to speak with Forests Minister Bruce Ralston about “getting burned wood out of the bush.”

“He assured me that they had a plan,” Hamer-Jackson said. “It wasn’t a real clear plan, but I wonder if it would benefit if we sent another letter to Minister Ralston for you?"

Hoffman said the mill has regular dialogue with a couple of provincial representatives, but told council he would appreciate continued advocacy.

“Every opportunity, I won't prescribe to council, because you are in audiences that I’m not part of, but, every opportunity is what I’m asking for your consideration,” Hoffman said.

“Whether you find yourself in front of the minister of forests or whether you find yourself in front of the premier, you’ve got the key messages.”

Hamer-Jackson put forward a motion to send a “follow up” letter to Ralston.

“Like I said, he did say they had a plan to get that wood, the burned timber, out of the bush,” he said.

The motion was carried unanimously by council.