Is shipping raw logs hurting us?

Western Forest Products has laid off more than 40 workers at APD sawmill, citing a rate dispute in the forest—and a log shortage.

Western Forest Products has laid off more than 40 workers at Alberni Pacific Division (APD) sawmill, citing a rate dispute in the forest, as well as a log shortage.

Hearing ‘log shortage’ is like waving a red flag to people in Port Alberni, who regularly see raw logs loaded onto ships bound overseas.

The Private Forest Landowners Association claims there is no such thing as a log shortage—there are logs aplenty available to sawmills, and that domestic sawmills ‘need to take responsibility for their own supply problems’ by offering competitive log prices and a host of other reasons.

That’s a hard pill to swallow when a community like Port Alberni has so many forestry employees forced to collect Employment Insurance as two sides dicker about log prices.

The PFLA website has some interesting information about log exports from their perspective, including federal restrictions and export taxes, which they say contribute to the issue. The process of buying and selling raw logs is far from perfect, and if we are to have a sustainable forestry industry in BC that must be addressed.

Whatever stance  PFLA members take, it all comes down to optics. And weighing layoffs against log exports creates poor optics, indeed.

— ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS