Bigger and Better
Saskatchewan Forestry Expo organizers expect the show, being held in August, will be even bigger this year with more exhibitors.
By Tony Kryzanowski
The second Saskatchewan Forestry Expo-slated for August 8 to 10 in Prince Albert-will have a decidedly western flavour, taking into account the planned pulp truck races and heavy horse competitions. However, these events are mere diversions from the main reason why most of the 10,000 visitors attended the inaugural show two years ago: to investigate all things related to forestry. Based on the very positive response to the 1999 Saskatchewan Forestry Expo, organizers have increased booth sales projections by 30 per cent, from 233 indoor and outdoor booths in 1999 to 350 in 2001.
Equipment manufacturers and distributors will certainly be front and centre at the Saskatchewan Forestry Expo, but the show will also feature a broad range of industry suppliers.
"We're seeing some operators that came in with two booths last time that are increasing to four booths and some who had four, taking six," says Prince Albert Exhibition representative Doug Mackenzie. "We're also getting a lot of calls from new exhibitors." Held on the Prince Albert exhibition grounds, the show is sponsored by the Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce, the Saskatchewan Forestry Association and the Prince Albert Exhibition Association. "We were happy with both the public and exhibitor response to the last show," says Prince Albert economic development co-ordinator Perry Trusty.
"The actual number of people that came through the gate was higher than we had projected, as were the number of displays and exhibitors. There was a good mixture of people attending." Although Saskatchewan is best known for its grain fields, Trusty adds that residents from Prince Albert and area have a long association with the forest industry, which is well established in the region. "People from the area are always interested in looking at what's new and developing in forestry." Growth in the province's forest industry over the past five years has definitely raised the profile of the forestry show itself, he says. Saskatchewan's new forest development strategy is expected to launch $850 million in new investment over a 10-year period and create 10,000 new jobs.
It's expected to result in 12 new or expanded facilities, creating up to 5,000 person years of employment in construction alone. Anumber of sawmill and engineered wood products facilities have already been announced, are under construction or have been completed. Many are situated close to Prince Albert. The show is a terrific networking opportunity, particularly for forest industry contractors, given the amount of change and consolidation taking place among equipment suppliers. For example, Caterpillar has recently launched a new line of cut-to-length equipment and John Deere has acquired the Timberjack equipment line. Tigercat has also recently changed distributors. So contractors can use this opportunity to investigate new lines of equipment and talk to dealer representatives about parts and service support.
Attendees can also expect a wide selection of smaller equipment suppliers, such as portable sawmill and chainsaw distributors. The show will have a good selection of technology suppliers, from cell phone distributors to customized and complex harvesting and mill optimizing hardware and software. Wherever the primary equipment suppliers are, the supporting cast of oil, attachment, and general industry suppliers follows. This includes a large number of major trucking industry representatives, as well as reforestation suppliers such as PRT.
Mackenzie says they have changed the layout of the Expo somewhat so that noise from the portable sawmill and chainsaw area does not disturb activity at other booths. The Saskatchewan Forestry Expo is not only an opportunity to gather information about new forestry equipment and services, but also a chance to hear experts speak on a number of subjects relevant to Saskatchewan's forest industry. Show organizers were in serious discussions with Forintek and Industry Canada as part of their plan to host a conference the day before the show begins and also during Expo's first day. Conference topics will likely focus on "value-added" as it relates to forest products as well as how to export successfully into the American market.
Saskatchewan forest products manufacturers had not been subject to American softwood lumber export quotas in the last five years. Therefore, Saskatchewan manufacturers enjoyed a competitive advantage over softwood manufacturers in nearby Alberta and BC. Forintek's participation in the Saskatchewan Forestry Expo is timely because of a recent decision to station members of the national engineering and marketing organization at a Forestry Centre in Prince Albert. Participants in the province's forest industry can query Forintek representatives on the market intelligence and engineering services that will be available through the centre.
Those attending the Saskatchewan Forestry Expo can also expect a significant forest industry presence. Prince Albert is the centre of forest industry activity in the province, and in addition to local forest companies having booths at Expo, visitors can participate in guided tours of local forestry operations. There will also be tours of research sites at the nearby Prince Albert Model Forest. Attendees can learn more about the research being done to advance sustainable forest management and what influence this very important area is having on current forest industry practices in the province. "There are a number of research sites that have been established over the past 50 years," says seminar and tour organizer Michael Newman. "It's one thing to tell people that trees live 80 to 100 years. But when they participate in a field tour of sites established in the 1920s and 1930s, and they see that the trees are still there, they gain an appreciation for it."
He adds that some of the sites were established by government make-work programs during the Depression years. If you plan to attend the Saskatchewan Forestry Expo, Prince Albert has over 700 hotel rooms available, plus there is plenty of RV parking near the exhibition grounds. And, only a short drive from the city, Prince Albert National Park gives attendees a taste of the native boreal forest, where most forest industry activity takes place in the region. Part of the Prince Albert Model Forest partnership, the park offers camping facilities. Further information is available from the show office at: 306-763-3399 or on the show web site at: www.saskforestryexpo.com
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last modified on Tuesday, February 17, 2004