Steve Zika, Chief Executive Officer of Hampton Affiliates -company that owns Babine Forest Products and Decker Lake Forest Products-, says the mountain pine beetle epidemic has devastated the timber supply in the Lakes District, where much of the available volume was lodge pole pine.
“The reality is that there is only so many living trees left in the Lakes District, so there is no easy solution to our concerns about fiber availability,” he said.
Burns Lake’s newest community forest, the Chinook Community Forest, was the main reason why Babine Forest Products was rebuilt after the 2012 explosion. However, after 2020, when Chinook’s annual allowable cut (AAC) will be reduced from 150,000 to 65,000 cubic metres, the community forest will represent only a small portion of the timber needed to supply the mill.
“While the timber supply coming off it [Chinook] will be modest and supply less than 10 per cent of our annual needs, every little bit helps and Chinook provides local wood that will benefit Burns Lake,” said Zika.
When asked if he thought the upcoming AAC reduction was unfair, Zika said he understand the government’s decision.
“Government did what they believe was the best they could do in the situation without negatively effecting other entities who are also competing for the limited fiber,” said Zika.
“We continue to look for opportunities outside the Lakes District for finding additional timber supply when the AAC gets reduced, including assisting with the salvage of spruce that has been attacked by the spruce beetle.”