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Coastal Clarion - Newsletter
Vol.8, Issue 1 · Summer 2012
Canada is dramatically different today than it was almost 145 years ago when it was a new country. Today, our politics, culture and economy all reflect the fact that our lives are dependent on a complex global economy and an even more complex natural world. The concept of habitat protection is widely held by modern Canadians and, as a result, we have some of the most stringent environmental regulations in the world. Nonetheless, a number of outdated laws regulate our processes, one of which is the Fisheries Act of 1868. Bill C-38 provides much needed updates to this Act aligning it with modern practices such as the ecosystem based management and risk management approaches, both of which focus on maximizing human well-being along with preserving ecological integrity.
Under the old Fisheries Act, companies wishing to operate in fish habitats were required to adhere to a no net loss policy approach. This functions on a project-by-project basis and involves the attempt to mitigate the loss of resources and/or environmental disruption. In practice however, this is lengthy, expensive and treats varied qualities of land equally in terms of ecological value. With Bill C-38, the new Fisheries Act improves the process by taking a risk management approach that assesses the importance of each habitat in terms of scarcity, abundance and critical role in the environment. This, in turn, streamlines the review process by providing a clear and efficient framework aimed at protecting key habitats. In this way, Bill C-38 reflects our modern commitment to preserving ecological integrity while at the same time maximizing human well-being.
I believe that most Canadians want a thriving economy alongside a healthy and flourishing natural environment. It is when we discuss how this can be achieved while avoiding the opposite scenario, the cycle of poverty and environmental destruction, that controversy arises. Because Bill C-38 addresses this subject, a great debate has been stirred. The reality is that for now at least, Canadians rely heavily on natural resources to support our economic base while modern science proves that we must take conscious measures to preserve our planet. Given such compelling factors on both sides, how then do we move forward?
We move forward by assessing and re-evaluating our laws through the lens of our current yet ever-evolving knowledge and understanding of science, economy and cultural values. We continue to build on lessons learned, encouraging questions and dialogue. We actively seek out facts from all sides of the argument - not from just the loudest voices. Our legislation needs to reflect who we are as a nation right now. Bill C-38 is a step in this process; it reflects ecosystem based management and risk management approaches because they represent what many Canadians value today. For this I applaud the government and look forward to continuing this work before another 145 years are up.
building ship broadens relationships
Photo: Government of B.C.
In May, Coast Forest Products Association joined Premier Christy Clark, company delegates and Japanese officials to support Japan’s reconstruction efforts, emphasizing the importance of Japan and British Columbia’s long-standing partnership.
“We will stand by Japan through thick and thin,” says Coast Forest’s Rick Jeffery. “It is very moving to witness the determination of our Japanese friends and partners to rebuild following the enormous devastation that took place after last year’s earthquake and tsunami.”
During this visit, the Canada Wood Group signed an MOU with the City of Natori to rebuild the Yuriage City Public Market, the first project undertaken by the $4.5 million Canada Tohoku Reconstruction Project. This includes $2 million each from the Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia as well as a $500,000 donation from Canada's forest industry. (Continued on page 4)
howe sound pulp & paper
Coast Forest Member Profile
Fred Fominoff, Howe Sound Pulp & Paper’s Fibre Manager, invited Coast Forest to have a tour of its facilities in Port Mellon. A trained accountant with CMA and CGA designations, Fred joined Howe Sound Pulp & Paper (HSPP) in 2006 after working for a number of years in forestry in all four corners of the province as a controller and later an operations manager. Coast Forest’s Director of Communications & Research, Susan Gagnon, spent a morning touring the remarkable Howe Sound Pulp & Paper mill viewing first-hand the state-of-the-art facilities, learning how the company is a major economic contributor and meeting the President & CEO, Mac Palmiere, along with many of his highly-skilled employees. Below are highlights of her conversation with Fred throughout this tour.
|Q.||What do you find is the best part of working at Howe Sound?|
Working with such a talented group of people. I am proud to work with them and have full confidence that this is a group that can make Howe Sound successful. They have that high level of talent, experience and knowledge.
|Q.||It sounds like you have had lots of success so far in terms of product quality, safety performance, efficiency and environmental protection so this seems to be a continuation.|
Yes, however we also have our share of challenges. The markets we are in; pulp is very cyclical, wood is expensive on the coast and newsprint is a disappearing market. North American consumption is down by 50 per cent, so we have no shortage of challenges. The advantage we have is the facilities we have to work with. They are in their prime and on the cutting edge.
|Q.||You were saying that Howe Sound Pulp & Paper employs approximately 480 employees.|
Yes, and we also have another facility on the Fraser River in Vancouver, Westcoast Cellufibre, that employs 35 people so this makes it over 500 full-time employees. Added to this, we employ hundreds of contract workers during major maintenance turnarounds.
|Q.||I read that Howe Sound is the backbone of the economy of the Sunshine Coast. Can you tell me more?|
Certainly, it is the largest production facility on the Sunshine Coast and we provide well-paying and secure jobs. It is people like Christina, our accountant who you just met who work here and, in turn, are able to raise families and build communities. This provides benefits not just for communities like the Sunshine Coast but for all British Columbians.
Another way to look at Howe Sound’s economic contribution is from the angle of the forest industry as a whole. One of the major strengths of B.C.’s economy is its forests. The role that Howe Sound Pulp & Paper plays is that we take the low-value fibre from logging and the waste from sawmilling and turn it into a high-value product which is Kraft pulp and mechanical paper. We also use bark and sawdust as a fuel that is converted to electricity. In this way very little wood is wasted.
|Q.||That is a huge economic impact. I understand that you are able to produce and sell some of the electricity to BC Hydro?|
Yes, and all parts of the forestry industry are needed for this to work. If it was just pulp or plywood and sawmills in operation without the others, we would not have a sustainable industry because no single product uses all of the forest.
|Q.||What key issues would you say are on the horizon in the next five years?|
One issue that is worldwide is declining paper consumption and this is one we are grappling with. Another issue in BC is the impact the pine beetle is having in B.C. This will cause some level of upheaval in the industry. We acquire some of our wood supply out of the Interior so we are keeping a close eye on this.
|Q.||If people want to support Howe Sound and the Canadian pulp and paper industry, how can they do this? For instance, how can they buy paper products that originate in B.C.?|
You can rest assured that if you buy any newspaper printed in the Lower Mainland, you are very likely buying Canadian-made paper. We sell paper locally as does Catalyst. For our main NBSK (northern bleached softwood kraft) pulp grade, Canada is the biggest world supplier along with Northern Europe. We have some competitors in the Southern Hemisphere such as Chile but their products are of a different quality.
|Q.||So we need to read our newspapers then! What are the key points about Howe Sound that you think people outside the forest industry may not know?|
Certainly that the economic benefit we provide is not only for the people and families working directly at Howe Sound but also for many of the suppliers, partners and service providers in industries like shipping, transportation and many others.
Another important point is that our products also carry internationally-recognized certification. We are proud of our PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. We belong, along with Interfor, Western Forest Products and BC Timber Sales to the Coast Forest Conservation Initiative which is active with environmental groups working on the Great Bear Rainforest Initiative. We are also highly involved in our community and support numerous organizations ranging from the Salvation Army to BC Children’s Hospital, the BC Heart Fund to the Boy Scouts Association and many others.
|Q.||Thanks, Fred! It is good to gain a better understanding of Howe Sound’s operations as a leader in the forest sector and one of the key driver’s of B.C.’s economy. Best of luck to you.|
For a virtual tour of Howe Sound Pulp and Paper and more information, please visit the company website http://www.hspp.ca.
If you are a Coast Forest member and would like your company profiled in an upcoming issue , please contact Susan Gagnon at 604-891-1240 or email email@example.com. The Coastal Clarion is read in offices and forests throughout B.C. and around the world!
SOFTWOOD LUMBER AGREEMENT: OPTION A On April 20, the BC forest industry met with representatives from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada to consult on the export charge the industry will be subject to beginning January 2013 under the terms of the Softwood Lumber Agreement. There are two options of the SLA that were debated and considered at length:
- Under "Option A" an export charge is payable based on the export price of softwood lumber
- Under "Option B" an export charge is payable at rates lower than under Option A, combined with volume restraints (quotas).
Coast Forest conducted rigorous consultation with its members and other BC forest industry stakeholders to determine that continuing with Option A is the preferred export charge regime going forward. It features a soft regional cap and a higher export charge but there is no allocation of quota, no Allocation Methodology Order required and permits are allocated on a demand basis. Since the beginning of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement the export charge has been at 15 per cent most months.
CONT’D FROM PAGE 1, BUILDING SHIP BROADENS RELATIONS “Our friends in Japan suffered a tragedy last year and British Columbia wants to help them rebuild, to see them emerge even stronger,” said Premier Clark in Natori at a ceremony in memory of those who lost their lives in the disaster. “I’m honoured to be here, to witness the beginning of that rebuilding process and to see so many people who are committed to the recovery of this region.”
In addition to the reconstruction project, Western Forest Products donated several Douglas fir and cedar logs to the Miyagi Prefectural government to replace masts from the San Juan Bautista, a 400-year-old replica of one of Japan’s first ever built Western style sailing ships. A national treasure and important tourist destination, the tall ship survived the earthquake and tsunami with only minor damage.
Originally built in 1613, the ship was commissioned by the Shogun to transport an envoy to the Pope in Rome to open up trading lines with Japan. In 1993 a replica of the ship was constructed and, today, the San Juan Bautista is recognized as a symbol of reconstruction in the town of Ishinomaki.
“As soon as we learned of the damaged ship we were hoping to support the recovery program wherever possible,” said Lee Doney, Vice Chairman, Western Forest Products and Chair of Coast Forest Products Association. “It required some planning to get the appropriate logs to the project and it couldn’t have been done without the support of the Provincial and Federal government through the Canada Wood Export Program.”
During the three-day visit to Japan, Rick Jeffery also allocated time to meet and strengthen ties with current and potential customers. This included Akira Chiba, Director of the International Affairs Division of Miyagi Prefectural Government, representatives from the Japan Lumber Importers’ Association and companies such as Sumitomo Forestry, Emachu, Tokyo Lumber Terminal, Xyence Corp., Torisumi, Selco Home Co., and Sojitz Building Materials.
“Japan has been a key trading partner with BC and Canada for many years and we look forward to many more such years to come” emphasizes Coast Forest’s Rick Jeffery. “When we visit, we are there to lend support and strengthen the ties that already exist, as well as reach out to others who could benefit from B.C.’s exceptional wood products.”
Photo: Province of B.C.