The Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia will contribute to the upgrading of 4.2 km of highway to four lanes at the Wright Station Curves, between 100 Mile House and Williams Lake on Highway 97, the major north/south artery in B.C. This project is consistent with British Columbia's long-term vision of the four-lane Cariboo Connector between Cache Creek and Prince George. The Cariboo Connector supports growth in truck traffic related to the harvesting of wood affected by the pine beetle, and the development of the Port of Prince Rupert.

The Government of Canada will contribute up to $4.2 million for the project. The funding is part of the estimated total project cost of $11.2 million and comes from a $44–million federal commitment to fund transportation infrastructure projects through the Mountain Pine Beetle Program under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.


B.C.'s lumber output on the slide: analyst

British Columbia has already peaked as a high-volume lumber producer thanks to the mountain pine beetle and the slumping U.S. housing market, a leading industry researcher said Tuesday.

Russ Taylor, president of International Wood Products Group Inc. said U.S. housing is not likely to recover until 2009, and by then mill shutdowns will have permanently scaled back the lumber sector.

More hard times coming for B.C. sawmills: expert

B.C. lumber companies can look forward to another 18 months of curtailments and shutdowns before the U.S. housing slump is over, a leading wood products researcher forecast today.

Russ Taylor, president of International Wood Products Group Inc., said the U.S. housing slump is now impacting the entire world and all major lumber markets are heading into over-supply.

The housing market is unlikely to recover until 2009, making it a three-year-long slump. And with no relief in sight on the demand side, the alternative is to close mills, particularly in the B.C. Interior, Taylor said in an interview.

High-speed Interior mills, feeding on a diet of low-cost beetle-killed logs, have been among the last to cut back in North America. Prices are below operating costs but marginally higher than the cost of shutting down.


Kananaskis logging cause for concern

Alberta Sustainable Resource Development recently approved plans to allow clear cut logging activities in the area of Kananaskis near Bragg Creek and across a broad slice of the region. This has many concerned, including Mountain View MLA Dr. David Swann.

One of the reasons SRD gave to residents during public consultations was that an effort was needed to combat the Mountain Pine Beetle activity in the area and taking preventive action against its spread. This isn't a well-founded strategy, according to Swann, especially due to the increased risk to water resources in the area.


Beetle salvage extension sought

TallOil Canada Inc. is seeking an extension from the province on several major pine beetle-killed timber salvage licences as it failed to meet a Nov. 1 deadline to have a pellet plant substantially completed.

"We have applied for an extension. It's now in the hands of the two regional managers who are doing their due diligence," TallOil CEO Gary Griffith said Wednesday.


Small Pellets A Big Idea For Mayor McRae

“Waste not, want not” could be Mayor Ken McRae’s new slogan for the city.

He’s been chasing after a way to use waste wood and industry bi-products and is hoping to bring a few new jobs into the Alberni Valley.

On a driving holiday through North Central B.C. over the summer, McRae said, he travelled through beetle-kill country, and amid the devastation he noticed wood-pellet plants springing up.


The Government of Canada and the City of Kamloops announce new funding for jobs removing beetle-infested trees

Betty Hinton, Member of Parliament for Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, and Terry Lake, Mayor of the City of Kamloops, today announced joint funding for a project that will help minimize the fire hazard from dead and dying trees infested with pine beetle and create jobs for 12 local workers.

“Our government is pleased to partner with the City of Kamloops and the Community Futures Development Corporation of Thompson Country to help adults and young people in Kamloops who require employment and career assistance,” said Ms. Hinton. “This project builds on our previous initiatives to eliminate the pine beetle and reduce fire risk, and provides local workers with experience in forestry-related jobs.”


Hurting forest industry searches for solutions

Last week, Drayton Valley Mayor Diana McQueen met with officials from Weyerhaeuser to discuss other opportunities for growth, but the company says it is too soon to open new doors.

While approximately 130 people are set to lose their jobs with the pending closure of Weyerhaeuser’s OSB plant, McQueen would like the company to consider Drayton Valley as a centre for new product lines, or expanded sawmill operations to counter mountain pine beetle infestations.