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Logging and Sawmilling Journal March/April 2014

March/april 2014

On the Cover:
The restart of the Tolko OSB mill in Slave Lake, Alberta—with accompanying capital investments and job creation—comes as good news for the community, which was hit by a devastating fire two years ago. Read all about the mill re-start beginning on page 58 of this issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journal. (Photo of Tolko Slave Lake OSB operation by Tony Kryzanowski).

A co-operative approach to getting wood supply
An Alberta co-op—EDFOR Co-operative Ltd—could be a business model for smaller logging and sawmilling businesses, through which they can acquire a guaranteed wood supply.

San Jose shows the way with new Tigercat 875
The first Tigercat 875 logger designed for loading or processing—a heavy duty purpose built machine with the features of the popular Tigercat 880 but in a smaller, energy efficient and ergonomic package—is a solid fit for B.C. contractor San Jose Logging.

In the woods innovators
B.C.’s family-run Lime Creek Logging has a track record of working with innovative equipment in the woods—these days, that includes a Delimbinator, to handle small limby timber, and a Southstar processor head.

Canada’s Top Lumber Producer
See who’s on top, and what positions have changed, in Logging and Sawmilling Journal’s authoritative listing of the Top Lumber Producers in Canada, courtesy of leading forest industry consultants, International WOOD Markets Group Inc.

Wood mats for the oil patch
A mid-sized B.C. Interior sawmill, Woodco Management, is finding solid success producing wooden mats and mat components for Alberta’s oil patch, using a Micromill system and a new Select band saw.

Wanted: more saw filers
New filing equipment and getting more people into the trade will be the hot topics at this year’s B.C. Saw Filer’s Trade Show and Conference.

Guest Column
Where is the supply for increased SPF lumber going to come from? It’s simple, say consultants Jim Girvan and Murray Hall. It’s could come from Alberta.

The Edge
Included in The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions, FPInnovations, NRCan and the Woodland Operations Learning Foundation (WOLF) and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

Getting mill dust more under controlA trial at a West Fraser sawmill in B.C. has demonstrated the feasibility and energy efficiency—and potentially increased safety—of using dust control equipment that has been very successfully used in the mining industry.

Getting the most out of your iron with new regs
Training sessions are helping Nova Scotia logging contractors get up to
speed with changes in forest management regulations

The Last Word
Alberta’s new Electricity and Renewable Resource Ministry is the first standalone provincial government ministry in Canada aimed directly at renewable resource development and regulation, and has the potential to have a significant impact on the forest industry, says Tony Kryzanowski

Tech Update: Forwarders



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The Last Word

Alberta leads the way with new renewable resource ministry

By Tony Kryzanowski

Alberta’s new Electricity and Renewable Resource Ministry is the first standalone provincial government ministry in Canada aimed directly at renewable resource development and regulation—in this case, framed primarily around using renewable resources like woody biomass for potential power generation.

In my view, as master of its own destiny, this new ministry has the potential to have a significant impact on the local forest industry. It also marks a defining moment where a Canadian government has elevated the profile of renewable resource development to standalone status. Let’s hope it leads to other ministries being created in other provinces—and maybe even by the federal government, thereby elevating the profile of bio-energy and bio-product development across Canada.

It’s about time, and could open the door to changing Alberta’s image from solely being a producer of greenhouse gas-causing fossil fuels and fossil fuel-based petrochemicals, to that of an ‘energy’ province and a leader in the production of bio-based energy and bio-chemicals.

For the first time, a renewable resource ministry has been created outside of the shadow of an Energy Department, and the decision by Alberta to lead in this area is significant. Development of renewable energy and bio-products from sources such as the forest sector will not have its initiatives and issues overshadowed by a massive fossil fuel sector, specifically, coal, oil or gas. It is a recognition that renewable energy development and production, while it can include strategic alliances with fossil fuel producers, has its own needs and issues. And they are separate from the noise from oil and gas producers and coal power generators that have had a century to bend the ears of politicians and bury their roots into the development of government policy.

Alberta is known for promoting the idea of the development of a Canadian energy strategy. But perhaps someone had the wisdom to discover that before you can have a national energy strategy, you might want to develop a provincial one first. Just saying …

One question that came to mind in a province so dependent on the fossil fuel industry is whether this Electricity and Renewable Resource Ministry was created so that the movers and shakers in the oil and gas industry could actually better control growth in this sector. It does represent competition to their industry. Biomass competes with natural gas and coal as a feedstock for energy and with petrochemicals as a feedstock for materials such as plastics. I hope I’m wrong about this.

In the final analysis, it really comes down to the competency of the minister in charge and the collection of deputy ministers tasked with implementing government policy on renewable resource development. The jury was out on the appointed Associate Minister, Donna Kennedy-Glans, and it turns out my spider sense was right. She recently resigned from the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party to sit as an independent.

Firstly, she was a politician elected from a Calgary constituency, where many of the fossil fuel industries’ head offices are located. Secondly, she was described as a lawyer with 28 years experience in the energy sector and a “recruited star candidate heavily supported by the oil and gas industry.” That raised a couple of serious red flags for me. Hopefully, Alberta’s Premier does a better job of finding a less-connected MLA to lead this important initiative in future.

Having had a front row seat to the evolution of bio-energy and bio-product development by the Canadian forest sector over the past decade, I’m not really sure that Alberta’s government fully understands what it has done by creating this ministry. It has opened the door to the future from a province that has often been accused of living in the past. The question is, will the provincial cabinet and new minister realize it?

Having also written about alternative energy for the past decade, there is no doubt in my mind that the trend related to anything ‘renewable’ and ‘bio’ has taken hold. Investment growth, technological development and the launch of new companies to service this sector is phenomenal. One need look no further than the recent launch of the 2.8 megawatt Lethbridge Biogas facility in Alberta, which is using manure and commercial organic waste to create biogas to produce power for up to 2800 homes. It is the largest privately-owned biogas power production facility in Canada. What’s interesting is that they have decided not to sign a power purchase agreement with an existing power company but instead have chosen the much riskier path of selling power directly on the open market.

I have no doubt that there is considerable interest within the province’s forest sector to further develop their power production and bio-product development potential. However, the question for years has been: does anyone care and is anyone listening?

Well, in Alberta, now they do care—and they are listening. Let’s hope the trend continues across Canada.


Remembering – MaryAnne Arcand

Logging contractors and truckers in the British Columbia Interior lost a friend and advocate with the recent death of MaryAnne Arcand.

The executive director of the Central Interior Logging Association (CILA) based in Prince George, known and appreciated for her blunt and forthright manner, died from cancer aged 59.

“In her time with the CILA, she expanded the association’s influence with government, broadened services to members and launched forest worker training initiatives that helped provide qualified operators to the industry,” wrote Roy Nagel in FastFacts, the CILA’s weekly newsletter. Nagel was director of the CILA prior to his retirement and still contributes to the association’s work on specific issues. “MaryAnne was very much out there front and centre. She had her own style,” Nagel told the Logging & Sawmilling Journal. “She raised her profile as well as that of the CILA.”

Arcand was key to the development of the Carbon Offset Aggregation Co-operative of B.C. in 2011. She recognized that loggers and truckers in the co-operative could not only reduce their carbon footprints, but could also slash fuel consumption and contribute to the more efficient operation and productive life of their working equipment.

Perhaps Arcand will be best remembered for her work with the promotion of log contractor safety during her five-year tenure with the CILA.

“MaryAnne carried out a lot of work on the logging truck safety file,” confirmed Nagel.

Before joining the CILA, Arcand served as the Forestry TruckSafe and Northern Initiatives Director with the B.C. Forest Safety Council. More than 30 truckers were killed on the job in northern B.C. between 1995 and 2005. Arcand found that statistic intolerable and set to work to reverse the situation. The process involved working with the various regulatory agencies involved to bring about rule changes, working within all levels of the forest industry itself to alter bad habits and practices, and employing the effective use of the media to raise public awareness.

The CILA’s membership profile mirrored that of the licencees during Arcand’s tenure with the organization. Logging contractors have become larger and more diversified. “Seven or eight years ago, a good size contractor would harvest 200,000 to 325,000 cubic metres/year. Today we have more than 15 contractor members harvesting 500,000 cubic metres and more,” noted Nagel. The membership’s industry diversification was hastened by the U.S. lumber market collapse and the recession.

The diversification trend was reflected when Arcand encouraged the CILA to change the focus and format of Forest Expo, a major trade show for the industry held in Prince George. The result was an expansion of the popular show into the Canada North Resources Expo which embraces all the region’s land-based resource industries, and not predominantly forestry.

“When a not-for-profit organization loses somebody with profile, things have to continue,” observed Nagel. “Members and the CILA need to re-focus and the association will go through that process again,” he said.

Arcand would appreciate that strategy: set the course and get on with it.