New Forest Enhancement Society grants increase use of wood fibre in Cariboo Chilcotin

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First Nations and industry in the Cariboo Chilcotin are working hard this winter to use wood fibre that would otherwise be burned after receiving funding by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).

The latest round of $3 million in new grants supports 15 different projects across the province, which Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Katrine Conroy said will support local jobs and help make better use of wood debris left behind after timber harvesting.

?Elhdaqox Developments Ltd. is receiving a $83,100 grant to utilize the residual waste fibre resulting from a stand rehabilitation project funded by Forests for Tomorrow (FFT) west of Williams Lake near Strouse Lake.

“It’s so deteriorated and so degraded that it is no longer economically viable,” FESBC executive director Steve Kozuki said of the area hit hard by the mountain pine beetle.

FFT provided the Tl’esqox and Yunesit’in owned company funding for the initial clearing of the damaged forest with FESBC funding the utilization of the residual waste fibre, which will be delivered to Pinnacle Pellet or Atlantic Power in Williams Lake for energy or wood pellet production.

Atlantic Power is also receiving a $200,000 grant to help local First Nation companies deliver fibre to the 66-Megawatt biomass-fueled electricity generation plant in Williams Lake.

The remaining waste and logging debris piles from harvest cut blocks will be loaded into a chip truck after being ground through one of two mobile grinders.

“Transportation cost is the biggest variable cost in using this wood,” Kozuki said.

Projects must be completed by March 31, 2021.

Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune