Weyerhaeuser and the province are negotiating a 20-percent take back of the company’s AAC-a portion of which would come from the company’s holdings on the islands, TFL 39-Block 6-to make more timber available for small businesses and First Nations.
All major timber companies are negotiating a 20-percent take back with the province over and above the five percent that the small business program currently manages. A five percent take back has been available and utilized by the small business program since the late 1980’s says Cal Ross, Operations Manager of Ministry of Forests. The province increased small business and first nation’s share of the AAC as one way to convince the US that the system isn’t subsidized.
Small businesses will get access to the timber through competitive bidding, which should reflect the true value of the wood, says Mr. Ross. This in turn will strengthen the province’s position related to the softwood lumber dispute.
Weyerhaeuser has an additional five percent to return to the province as a result of the tenure transfer from MacMillan Bloedel to Weyerhaeuser, says Garth Johnson, supervisor of Queen Charlotte Timberlands. The company would like the take back to be area based.
“Our people are in negotiation now with the government and our hope would be that they would roll all that-the 20 percent, the five percent and the five percent-into an area based take back designed to support the 30 percent total,” Mr. Johnson says.
Mr. Johnson wouldn’t comment on rumours that Weyerhaeuser wants to pull out of TFL 39 altogether. “As a matter of policy Weyerhaeuser doesn’t comment on rumours. We’re working to continue to improve our operations on the Charlottes.”
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