Co-owner Paul Agnew has had a fantastic relationship with Western Forest Products in Port Alberni for over a decade, planting millions of trees for the mill every spring and fall.
“They’ve kept us going through thick and thin, through the recent WFP strike and the Mosaic curtailment,” says co-owner Scott Lemkay.
When Lemkay bought into the company in 2018, Sitka Silviculture committed to Port Alberni in a bigger way, purchasing land for truck parking, worker accommodation and seedling storage. That commitment solidified relationships with Mosaic (formerly Island Timberlands), B.C. Timber Sales, and local First Nations. They’re growing a local workforce too, employing skilled workers affected by the strike and curtailment, and encouraging itinerant workers to take up residence in the Alberni Valley.
“I’m proud to say I just bought a house here in December,” Lemkay says. “I’ve worked in the Valley for over a decade and I’m so excited to finally have a situation where I don’t have to leave to stay employed throughout the year.”
Speaking from the warehouse, Lemkay has a great view of his new hometown and some of their recent work.
“We really enjoy getting out in the Valley, and we take a tremendous amount of pride in the work we’re able to do in the community. I’m looking out at the burn on Arbutus Ridge right now and it’s already starting to green up with the trees we planted last year.”
Wildfire risk and fuel management
In recent years Sitka Silviculture has expanded their services to include wildfire risk assessments, and works to remove brush and deadfall before fires happen.
“Wildfire risk has dramatically increased due to climate change and other factors, but there’s work we can do to mitigate that risk,” Lemkay says.
Using S100 fire training and skilled chainsaw operators, Sitka Silviculture is eager to bring their experience in other regions to homeowners in the Alberni Valley.
“We’re passionate about preserving the forest in Port Alberni any way we can,” Lemkay says. “If you’ve got a 10-acre property or a cabin with forested areas give us a call and we can do a fuel assessment.”
Visit sitkasilviculture.com once the website launches later this May, or call Scott Lemkay at 250-650-3506 or Paul Agnew at 250-204-4261 for more information.