COFI President Susan Yurkovich (Photo supplied by Council of Forest Industries)

The Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, record-breaking wildfire seasons and challenging market conditions are still being blamed for the recent challenges in BC’s forestry sector.

That’s according to Council of Forest Industries President Susan Yurkovich who spoke with Vista Radio following the announcement of curtailments at West Fraser, Canfor, and Conifex along with the permanent closure of the Tolko sawmill in Quesnel last month.

However, she is pleased Hampton Lumber is planning to build a new facility in Fort Saint James following an agreement to purchase the sawmill from Conifex for 39-million dollars.

“You know, that’s exactly what needs to happen. We have to go through this difficult transition as I mentioned earlier and what we need to do is have the right milling capacity or the right configuration of mills to be able to match with the available timber.”

“We’ve had very volatile markets, prices are up the last couple of weeks but we spent many weeks down in the very low-level prices as I think we bought about 286 for about a thousand board feet, which of course, is far below the cost that it would take to manufacture it, we’ve had challenging markets in the United States, a very wet spring and delayed housing start numbers.”

Yurkovich is confident the industry can move through this difficult stage and wants to see the milling capacity match the fibre available.

“As our milling capacity and our fibre availability for harvest is put back in balance, the result of that is some very difficult decisions with the respect to curtailments whether its temporary or in some cases permanent.”