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Council of Forest Industries says stumpage relief is a good short-term measure

Every little bit helps, but it’s not the silver bullet.

That is the reaction of the President and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries to today’s (Thursday) announcement that the province will defer stumpage fees for three months.

Susan Yurkovich said there are a lot of challenges facing the industry right now.

“We’ve got market issues, we’ve got trade issues, but fundamentally we also have a cost competitiveness issue, and that is what we’re facing as we try to get back up and running and look for opportunities that will come with economic recovery.”

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Yurkovich adds if you are a high-cost jurisdiction you tend to be the first one down and you stay down longer, something she says BC is not used to.

“We have very efficient mills, so what we’ve got to do is find a way to get our fibre costs down so that we can compete with other jurisdictions. And that is something that we’re working on. The industry has a number of ideas, the government has a number of ideas, and we’ve got to collectively work on that challenge.”

She believes anything that helps with liquidity in the short term does help though, as she says we are facing unprecedented challenges with respect to COVID-19.

“We’re looking to get through the crunch here so companies can survive to fight another day, and to be able to be in a place where when the recovery starts to take hold, we can be part of that. And I think for our industry, in a world that is looking more for green building products and looking for carbon-friendly materials, there are going to be opportunities for us. We just have to be able to compete, because we’re not competing with neighbors down the road, we’re competing with competitors across the globe.”

The Council of Forest Industries represents the majority of lumber and pulp producers in the province.

– with files from George Henderson, MyCaribooNow.com

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