Letters of the week – April 14

Western Forest Products responds to the Truck Loggers Association.

Western Forest Products responds to TLA claims

To the Editor,

The Truck Loggers Association (TLA) press release titled Profits Before Community Interest is an inaccurate criticism of Western Forest Products. In the past we have chosen not to respond to such releases but in this situation, our employees who proudly live, work, and volunteer in coastal communities deserve better. As do contractors that work with WFP as our partners.

Business impasses do occur, but we had hoped our industry had matured past rhetoric.

A lot has changed over the past two decades in the Alberni Valley. Land use decisions have resulted in fibre supply reductions. WFP’s Crown tenure in Alberni (Tree Farm License 44) is now one‐third the size it was in 1996.

More than 70 per cent of the fibre needed to run the two local sawmills is now sourced from WFP tenures outside of the region.

This change is substantial and creates a new reality for Port Alberni.

The Alberni Pacific and Somass sawmills remain an integral part of the community, not because the fibre is sourced locally, but because Western Forest Products believes in domestic manufacturing.

In the past five years we have reinvested more than $220 million in capital expenditures in our manufacturing and timberlands operations for the benefit of the coastal communities in which we operate.

With local fibre constraints, attracting investment to Port Alberni isn’t simple and there is far more to the story than the TLA has portrayed.

We believe it’s time for a different approach to the discussion—one where forest companies, contractors, and unions expend their energy working towards a common ground.

Let’s stop the rhetoric. The world is changing around us. We owe it to our employees, our contractors who act as partners, and the communities who rely on us, to show leadership.

Let’s work together and build a better future we can all be proud of.

Amy Spencer,

Director, Communications and Government Relations,

Western Forest Products Inc.

Editor’s note: Although the Alberni Valley News has covered the Truck Loggers Association’s position on the impasse in the past two weeks, we did not run the press release in question.