Husby defends its work at Collison Point / St’alaa Kun

Husby Forest Products stands by its work at Collison Point / St’alaa Kun and warns the latest dispute over logging there is costing local jobs.

By Monday, Husby said it would need to lay off 21 mostly on-island workers because it has agreed to suspend logging in five cedar-leading cutblocks at Collison Point.

“This has a significant impact on the local communities,” Husby said in a written response filed in the B.C. Supreme Court last week. Husby normally employs 23 staff, 15 to 20 contractors, and last year spent $3.5 million on Haida Gwaii.

With timber valued at $6.4 million, the five cutblocks are subject to a court injunction hearing launched by the Council of the Haida Nation in late May.

The CHN alleges that Husby unlawfully felled at least 99 “monumental” cedars in one of the five cutblocks — large, clean-faced cedar trees that are ideal for carving Haida poles and canoes.

The CHN also singled Husby out for cutting cedar at a rate five to seven times higher than what B.C.’s Chief Forester says Haida Gwaii forests can sustain.

If nothing changes, the CHN warned, in less than 20 years the islands will go into a decades-long period where no cedar is available for harvest.

On the first point, Husby says it has not logged any monumental cedars unlawfully.

According to the Haida Gwaii land-use order, all companies must do surveys for Haida cultural features, including monumental cedars, before they can log or build roads.

Husby said it had CHN-certified surveyors do that at Collison Point two years ago, and for the cutblock in question they found just 11 monumentals.

Daniel Scholey, a Husby forest technologist, said in an affidavit that CHN staff who audited the cutblock again this spring and identified at least 99 couldn’t see all their defects — besides the ground-facing side, the felled cedars are now stacked against other logs.

Outside the injunction hearing, staff with B.C.’s forests ministry are now investigating the allegations of unlawfully cut monumentals.

As for the issue of over-harvesting cedar, Husby Vice-president Robert Sanberg said in an affidavit that the company has been shifting towards the lower rate of cedar harvest recommended by the Chief Forester in 2012, but it’s a challenging shift given the years-long planning involved.

While Husby did cut above the recommended cedar limit from 2014 to 2016, Sandberg said even Taan Forest Products, which is owned by the Haida Nation, exceeded the recommended limit from 2013 to 2016.

Moreover, Husby pointed out that for now, the cedar limit is just a guideline, not a legally enforceable rule.

Although the Chief Forester recommended that it become a “hard” limit last October, B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has not yet made the required ministerial order to make it enforceable.

“At best, the Petitioners are asking that the Court intervene to impose a guideline that is not required by law,” said Husby in response to the CHN petition, adding that the CHN is trying to “short-circuit” a policy change that needs time to do right.

Husby noted that a new timber-supply review of Haida Gwaii is expected this summer, and it will give everyone a clearer picture of the cedar remaining on the islands.

The company asked the court to dismiss the CHN’s request for an injunction against it.

“There is no serious issue to be tried as the permits for the Cutblocks were legally issued, the cedar partition is of no legal effect and efforts to manage cedar volumes are ongoing and should be permitted to continue without interference,” Husby said.

Besides the $11,340 per day its staff will lose due to lay-offs, the company noted that if cannot finish logging the five cutblocks at Collison it will forfeit $825,000 in road-building costs and the $336,895 spent so far on engineering, mapping, timber cruising, archaeological assessments, cultural-feature surveys, riparian surveys, wind-throw surveys, and site plans by registered professional foresters.

Valued at $6.4 million, the 36,000 m3 of timber in the five cutblocks at Collison amounts to about a quarter of Husby’s allowed cut for the year.

Just Posted

Update: North Beach clam harvest closed due to PSP biotoxin

Marine biotoxin results in closure for all bivalve harvesting from Wiah Point to Rose Spit

In Pictures: Rock the Plank! brings in the booty

Pirate-themed skate party raises $2,500 for new Masset Skate Society

Haida Gwaii fishing grounds are key to survival of northern resident killer whales: DFO

Plan marks waters from Langara to Rose Spit as critical habitat for northern resident killer whales

Masset suggests a simpler structure for Gwaii Trust

Change would parallel existing municipal, regional district representation for non-Haida communities

Grade 9s on Gwaii Haanas trip visit “the best spot on Haida Gwaii”

Now in its fourth year, Grade 9 trip gives Haida Gwaii youth a chance to visit Tanu and Windy Bay

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

B.C. to add hundreds of taxis, help cab companies modernize

Ride hailing companies can apply by the fall of 2019

BC Summer Games ready to begin on Vancouver Island

More than 2,000 athletes will compete in 18 sports from Friday to Sunday

Plenty of heroes in Thai cave rescue, says B.C. diver

Erik Brown reflects on team effort that brought 12 boys and their coach to safety

Funding available to replace infected B.C. hazelnut trees

B.C. Hazelnut Growers to recieve $300,000 over three years to battle eastern filbert blight

Woman charged after eight dogs seized from hotel room

Sixteen dogs recently seized from Adams and her daughter in Quesnel

Owner of B.C. fruit stand recounts ‘flames popping up everywhere’ from wildfire

The Mount Eneas wildfire is burning at about 200 hectares south of Peachland

Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers join together to oppose federal carbon plan

Saskatchewan is already involved in a court case over the tax

For-profit ridesharing legislation long overdue: BC Conservatives

Interim party leader Scott Anderson said the provincial government should step out of the way

Most Read