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Industry Shows

New Features For Forest Expo

The 2002 edition of Forest Expo will have some strong new features, including a tie-in with the value-added sector.

By Jim Stirling

Forest Expo 2002 is just around the corner and will offer new features, with plans that include a denim log house. The biennial show—slated for Exhibition Park in Prince George, British Columbia May 9 to 11—will continue to be the most productive and profitable place for Canada’s forest industry to do business. The latest in equipment and technology will be displayed, encompassing a broad spectrum of the harvesting and sawmilling sectors. Innovation and initiative will be in the spotlight, characteristics that are heightened, rather than dulled, by the uncertainties the industry faces.

Forest Expo general manager Trudy Swaan—who is also manager of the Railway and Forestry Museum in Prince George—with an old logging truck donated to the museum by the Doyle family. Forest Expo has moved its offices into the museum’s new administration and visitor centre.

There will be greater participation from the value added wood manufacturing sector his time around as a result of a closer liaison between Forest Expo and the Central Interior Wood Processors Association.

The association represents about 34 members from the Pacific Ocean to the Alberta border and from the southern Cariboo to the Yukon. The products they manufacture are diverse from re-manufactured items, finger jointed lumber and engineered wood products to furniture, cabinetry and flooring.

“The advantage to members of our participating more in Forest Expo is the recognition of the value added industry as being viable,” explains Carolyn Oakley, the association’s administrator. “The products are locally made, from local wood and they create local jobs. We want to get that message across to the general public.”

Assisting the cause will be a building dedicated to the value-added market place subtitled “exploring wood’s potential”. Then there’s the intriguing denim log house. BC’s central interior has and will continue to have increasing amounts of timber killed, damaged and sap stained blue by Canada’s worst mountain pine beetle epidemic. Bug-killed wood maintains its structural integrity but has a negative connotation and less marketing appeal. Denim, by contrast, piques interest and reflects the subtle blue-grey coloration left in the wood by the beetle legacy. The inspiration came from Eagleye Log Homes in Quesnel which builds denim products. That company—along with other value added wood producers in the Quesnel area—hope to have a house constructed and completely finished with denim wood for Forest Expo visitors to tour and appreciate.

The Central Interior Wood Processors Association will stage its AGM during Forest Expo 2002 and sector members will be informed through seminars at the show. The association has come a long way from a modest beginning in 1992. Oakley says opening a storefront office in downtown Prince George has helped raise the association’s profile. The office also houses Forintek Canada Corp and the BC Wood Specialties Group, partners within the value added sector, making it a one stop clearing house for sectoral information, adds Oakley.

The move to working more closely with the value added sector represents a very exciting expansion to the historic structure of Forest Expo, says show general manager Trudy Swaan. And one with great potential for expanded development, she adds.

Swaan is wearing an additional hat this year, as manager of the Railway and Forestry Museum in Prince George. Forest Expo has moved its offices into the museum’s new administration and visitor centre. Forest Expo has twice donated money to help support the museum and its extensive outdoor displays and plans to increase the representation of forest industry related artifacts.

Forest Expo joins the Central Interior Logging Association in using the riverside museum site as its headquarters. And that represents another historic tie-in. Forest Expo was the vision of CILA members and grew out of the association’s annual conventions.

Logger sports have always been an integral ingredient of Forest Expo’s popularity with the public. Efforts were made to acquire the climbing poles used in logger sports events held at Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition. BC Rail helped out, transporting the poles from Squamish to Prince George, but unfortunately the poles proved unsuitable for use. The good news is logger sports organizers hope to source other suitable poles to introduce climbing events to the demonstration and competitive schedule at Forest Expo.

The 2002 show will again be holding a charity auction on behalf of the Prince George Hospice Society. The society operates a caring, home environment providing top-notch medical support and dignity for terminally ill patients. A bereavement centre for family members was recently opened. The charity auctions associated with the 1998 and 2000 Forest Expos raised a total of $204,000 for the hospice society. Auction chair is Mike Podger of Madill Equipment and anyone interested in donating auction items can contact him at 250-613-5469.

General information about Forest Expo—including registration—is available by calling 250-563-8833 and on the Internet at www.forestexpo.bc.ca

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