Corporate profits versus local jobs and environmental concerns

In a previous article, I said the use of rail ties for the Atlantic Pacific Corporation (APC) was about profits.

In a previous article, I said the use of rail ties versus logging residual material for the Atlantic Pacific Corporation (APC) was about profits.

I want to clarify that I am not against a company making a profit but I think it is important to look at all facets of an operation to see how profit margins are arrived at and the long-term impacts on the community.

What is the rush?

I think we need a detailed comparison of the pros and cons of using railroad ties versus using local logging residues.

This comparison must include the number of local jobs gained or lost resulting from both approaches as well as the impact on our environment.

With the anticipated short fall of lumber production and mill waste, I was optimistic that the logging residue would become competitive and make up for any losses in mill waste.

This is why I am disappointed with the decision to use creosoted rail road ties instead without an explanation of why APC is going that route.

My assumption is the use of rail ties is more profitable because the cost of trucking logging residue is more expensive than the rail transportation of rail ties.

Unfortunately, that means a loss of local trucking jobs.

It also means a greater green house gas production for the town and surrounding community. i.e. the logging waste will still be burned and we will also be importing and burning rail ties.

My other assumption is that the processing (chipping, drying and grinding) would have similar costs using either fibre source but with more health risks from the creosoted ties.

Retaining jobs and protecting the environment takes planning and long-term commitments. A power plant in Charlottetown PEI provides a good model to follow.

This private biomass heat and electrical power plant was established in the 1980’s using mill waste from a local lumber mill.

The high cost of importing oil forced the town to install 17 kilometres of pipes to deliver the heat from the power plant to businesses and homes.

Since  the mill closed in 2007, the small company has been meeting the fibre needs by chipping a variety of industry wood waste.

In 2008 when there was a reduction in the lumber production and  reduced mill waste in the Interior of B.C. the wood fibre was supplemented by processing the logging cull piles. This was not as profitable for the companies but they  wanted to  maintain production and fulfill their commitments to customers and they did get some experience and cost information associated with this approach.

Unfortunately, millions of heat units have been wasted by the APC  plant since it was constructed and millions more have been lost by burning  cull piles. That translates into a lot of heating fuel that could have been saved for future generations.

Hopefully  the promises of infrastructure investments by the new Liberal federal government will translate into some biomass plants like the one in Charlottetown.

There are a number of rural communities throughout the province who could benefit from this investment.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mayor Walt Cobb waves from atop a tractor as he turns onto Oliver Street in the Daybreak Rotary’s annual Stampede Parade. Patrick Davies photo.
Lack of funding, volunteers has Daybreak Rotary bowing out of Williams Lake Stampede parade

Club learned this week it won’t be receiving local government funding, for the second year in a row

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Williams Lake’s Brock Hoyer films a segment of the newly-released The Way Home in the city of Revelstoke. (Ryen Dunford photo)
Brock Hoyer stars in new snowbike film: The Way Home

The film is completely free and was released on YouTube on Jan. 22, 2021

The body of Kenneth Seymour Michell was discovered Jan. 14, 2021, behind a Williams Lake business a day after he was released by a judge on conditions. (Photo submitted)
Family looks for answers after Indigenous man dies by suicide following release from custody

System does not care about Indigenous peoples, says First Nations Leadership Council

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read