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Why Should British Columbians Care?

The citizens of this province should care about what is taking place here in Egmont because it likely will happen again and again especially if TimberWest Forest Corp. owns the land. This is admitted to in its 2001 Annual Report.

TimberWest boasts that it is "the largest owner of private forest lands in Western Canada. The Company's 334,000 hectares are largely located on Vancouver Island and contain some of the best coniferous forest growing sites in the world."…"The Company also holds about 6,500 hectares of properties that are progressively being made available for higher-value uses."(pg 1)

How does TimberWest propose to enhance value on its holdings?

Strategies:

  • "Update inventory and values on non-strategic timberlands to determine highest and best use."
  • "Sell or trade non-strategic timberlands to others who have a higher and better use for the land." (pg 15)

But, there is a far more onerous plan in the works for adding value to its holdings: "The Company is at the very preliminary stage of investigating the potential for coalbed methane gas development on its private lands. We have undertaken an initial prefeasibility study that identifies some methane gas presence in coalbeds underlying TimberWest lands. Considerable work needs to be undertaken to confirm the resource potential, commercial viability and the rights to the revenue stream. More studies will be undertaken in 2002." (pg 6)

In its 2002 Annual Report, TimberWest writes [it] "is committed to exploring opportunities to create additional value from its existing land base, including participation in real estate activity and the development of other revenue streams where value may be added." (pg 23)

Therefore, if a community has TimberWest as a neighbouring land owner it may have to say good-bye to its forests forever. And, if it looks like logging or using this land may prove contentious they may sell the land, but still manage to reap the benefits. We've heard TimberWest is buying the logs that Dale Malloch is clear cutting here in Egmont. Did the same happen at Shawnigan Lake?

Why this attraction to private land ownership? TimberWest says it best…"lower operating and regulatory costs than public lands." (pg 22)

Will they continue? Definitely. "We like the private timberlands business, we believe we are good at it and getting better, and over the long term, we would like to grow this business if accretive opportunities can be realized." (pg 6 - 2001 Annual Report)


Note: In both its 2001 and 2002 Annual Reports, TimberWest touts "in December 2000, TimberWest became the first Canadian company to achieve sustainable forest management certification for its forestry operations on private lands under the American Forest & Paper Association's Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Program. The SFI program is a rigorous system of environmental and conservation practices that includes requirements for wildlife protection, biodiversity conservation, harvesting practices and a wide range of other forest management goals." (pg 29, 2001 Annual Report)

It is our understanding that TimberWest is buying the logs from Pacific North Woods Resources Ltd. If this is so, it would seem TimberWest doesn't feel it necessary to apply the same standards it says it operates by to its other sources of logs. This begs the question, shouldn't the same standard be applied if those logs are added to the pool of logs being sold in the American market?