A new collaboration between the Williams Lake Indian Band and Tsi Del Del Enterprises has both parties excited about the future.
The two parties announced Wednesday they will begin working together to create opportunities for utilizing woody biomass immediately by salvaging waste left from logging in areas that were impacted by the 2017 wildfires.
WLIB Chief Willie Sellars said the collaboration will create employment and help to reduce the impacts of the recent downturn in the forest industry.
“Borland Creek Logging and Tsi Del Del Enterprises will be able to utilize existing equipment and personnel to continue operations. The further spinoff is that we will be able to use this roadside logging debris to generate power at local power plants, and to create value-added products like wood pellets. If we weren’t salvaging this material, it would be left until it could be burned on site.”
Percy Guichon, board director for Tsi Del Del Enterprises, said they will also be reducing carbon emissions by not burning slash piles.
“Instead we will utilize them to create employment and revenue, and create a working relationship between our two communities,” Guichon said, adding the collaboration marks the start of others the two parties hope to establish.
For Aaron Higginbottom, Senior Natural Resources and Economic Development Manager for WLIB, the thing he is excited about most, he said, is the fact they will not be burning hundreds of slash piles in areas that are as close as 500 metres from Sugar Cane.
“It caused lots of concerns in the community,” Higginbottom said.
Tsi Del Del Enterprises general manager Phil Theriault said work is anticipated to start on Fox Mountain within the week.
Between the two partners they have a 750-horsepower mobile grinder, loaders, dozers, excavators and trucks that will enable to them grind debris and deliver it to Atlantic Power and Pinnacle Pellet in Williams Lake.
“Tsi Del Del Enterprises already has an agreement with Pinnacle and WLIB has an agreement with Atlantic Power,” Theriault said. “By having this new agreement we can service both biomass users in one big swoop.”
The grinder will produce about 20 loads of biomass a shift, and will have the same team overseeing operations that ran Pioneer Biomass during the last downturn of the forest industry, he said.
“It is important to be diversified and united with economic opportunities in order to compete and survive,” Guichon said, noting they have had good support from both the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and financial support from the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.
Forester Ken Day is managing a FESBC program for WLIB. He estimated the burnt Douglas-fir will generate biomass for another five to 10 years from now.
“Saw log quality will definitely tail off by the end of five years and peeler quality is already gone,” Day said. “There are ecological benefits of having some coarse wood in place and we are planning to ensure we maintain habitat going forward.”