Campbell River is the hub for the coastal forest industry
on Northern Vancouver Island, serving both public and
private forest lands and an access point for experienced
labour and forest industry contractors as well as business
and sector support services within the region.
Forestry has been an influential industry in Campbell River’s economy for decades and continues to be an economic driver. New opportunities exist in manufacturing and through the creation of new products using wood and other forest products.
The region has well established infrastructure, including an extensive network of logging roads, air and water links, such as a deep sea water port and access to affordable gas and hydro power, to support the forestry industry.
Forestry has been identified as one of the priority growth industries in the BC Provincial Jobs Plan.
Snapshot of Forestry in British Columbia
As with the rest of Canada, British Columbia (BC) forest lands are a mix of public (Crown) and private. Public forest tenures include tree farm licenses, woodlot licenses and forest licenses. Both private and public lands provide a timber resource for local, national and international markets both in for primary and value added manufacturing.
TOP COMMODITIES & EXPORT MARKETS
BC exports in both wood and pulp and paper products increased between 2010 and 2015 with total forest product exports reaching $12.9 billion in 2015 . The top commodities, in terms of export dollar value, are softwood lumber and pulp products .
The three largest export markets for BC’s forestry industry are the United States (48%), China (29%), and Japan (9%) . In 2015, the US market reached $6.1 billion, an increase of 11% over 2014 . For more export and commodity information, see the 2015 Report on the Economic State of B.C’s Forest Sector.
The City of Campbell River has established a Forestry Task Force in cooperation and consultation with the forest industry, governments, First Nations and the public to enhance the sustainability of the forest sector and to support existing and new businesses. The task force mandate includes: investigating the potential for a community forest licence, investigating future economic development options and promoting non-timber forest resource business opportunities. The Task Force is also sanctioned to provide timely and beneficial information about the forest industry.
Campbell River Natural Resource District
Campbell River is located within the Campbell River Natural Resource District (CRNRD). In the CRNRD there are 18 Timber processing facilities, 41 woodlots and 14 First Nations Tenures5. The district office handles permitting for an Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) of approximately 4,500,000 cubic metres6.
Four major forest licencees operate in the Campbell River area - Western Forest Products, TimberWest, Interfor and Island Timberlands - providing direct and indirect jobs within the community.
Western Forest Products manages forests and manufactures wood products on the coast of British Columbia. The company has both an administration and a mid island forest operation office located in Campbell River.
TimberWest is a timberland management company with an office in Campbell River and operations across Vancouver Island.
Interfor is a lumber company with woodland and sawmill operations in North America. The company’s coastal woodlands division operates out of Campbell River.
Island Timberlands is a timberland management company with its regional office in Nanoose Bay, and with local forest operations in Menzies Bay, Oyster River, and Buckley Bay areas as well as other operations across Vancouver Island.
Opportunities to Grow & Diversify the Supply Chain
There are a variety of opportunities throughout the supply chain including forest management, harvesting, reforestation and
manufacturing. There is also a growing interest in diversifying the forestry sector through the creation of new products using
wood and other forest products.
PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SERVICES
Campbell River has a strong network of forestry, management, and related support and technical service companies with
established head offices in the city. Examples include: Strategic Natural Resource Consultants, a leading west coast natural
resource consulting firm; and Capacity Forest Management a forestry consulting firm specializing in First Nations forestry
licenses. In addition, there are several skilled professionals who provide support services for the industry including biologists
and geographic information systems specialists.
LOGGING, SILVACULTURE, NURSERIES AND OTHER FORESTRY BASED COMPANIES
Campbell River is home to many forestry based businesses including several smaller and medium sized logging businesses that are headquartered in Campbell. There are also companies who provide falling, sawmilling and log hauling services. Companies working in silviculture include planting contractors, brushing and fertilization contractors as well as companies such as PRT Growing Services, and Sylvan Vale Nursery, who supply locally-grown and conditioned tree seedlings for the sector.
MANUFACTURING & VALUE-ADDED
An assortment of manufacturing companies are located in Campbell River, from those providing industrial design and equipment manufacturing, such as T-Mar Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing, to those offering value-added wood products, such as Comox Valley Shake & Shingle. Companies providing custom design and woodwork, such as Willow Creek Builders, work with local sawmills, log salvage and private woodlot owners. Other companies, such as Timberwright, engage in primary and secondary manufacturing and provide timber drying and planing services.
Land, air, and sea-based transportation service operators provide support services to the forestry sector. Log barging companies, such as West Coast Tug and Barge offer services to conventional and heli-logging operations. Trucking companies, including Menzies Transport and Coastline Towing and Trucking, provide land transportation for products and equipment. Aircraft companies, like West Coast Helicopters, E & B Helicopters and Helifor provide support services for forestry including crew and equipment transportation.
Skilled Forestry Labour Force
The quality of life in Campbell River is a strong draw for young forestry workers from across Canada. There is a diverse pool of trades, forestry specialists, contract loggers, truckers and silviculture workers with approximately 1,035 people employed within the forestry industry. Campbell River also draws on a large labour pool from coastal communities within a one-hour radius such as Sayward, Comox Valley, Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
Forestry Education and Training Programs on Vancouver Island
The education and training facilities in and around Campbell River have programs tailored to the forest industry and recognize the value of working with industry and employers to develop partnerships. In Campbell River industry education begins at the high school level with Carihi Secondary offering a forestry program to prepare youth for entry-level jobs in the sector.
North Island College (NIC) Campbell River campus offers a range of technical and hands-on programs specific to coastal forestry, including a certificate in coastal forest resources and in coastal log scaling as well as programs in carpentry.
North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society (NVIATS) has a head office in Campbell River and runs a Forestry Training Bladerunners Program for Aboriginal people and communities in the region. The program is designed to meet industry demand for trained workers and provide industry certification and job readiness skills for Aboriginal residents.
Vancouver Island University (VIU), located in Nanaimo, delivers a forestry resources technology program, leading to the registered forest technologists (RFT) designation, as well as an advanced diploma in geographic information system applications.
Regional and Provincial Industry
Support A number of industry associations, operating at the regional and provincial level, that provide support focused on forestry professionals as well forestry products. These include:
North Island Woodlot Association (NIWA) is primarily a collective of woodlot owners and licensees. NIWA has been involved with evaluation of the provincial woodlot license program and with education around the importance of local woodlots to the local economy and the environment.
Coast Forest Products Association represents members operating along British Columbia’s coast. The organization supports BC’s coastal forestry sector through focused government relations and forest policy work as well as product education, market development, communications and security initiatives.
BC First Nations Forestry Council has representatives from First Nations communities and organizations and supports all First Nations in forestry activities. The organization engages in advocacy on behalf of First Nations communities, promotes forestry-related opportunities for First Nations, and has several programs including youth training, business support and policy development and reform.
Association of BC Forestry Professionals consists of Registered Professional Foresters and registered forest technologists and is responsible for registering and regulating British Columbia's forestry professionals.
Truck Loggers Association (TLA) represents independent harvesting contractors, independent sawmills, small tenure holders and industry suppliers located across the coast of BC. With more than 450 member companies, the TLA continues to be an influential voice. The Truck Loggers Association was formed in 1943 to give independent timber harvesting contractors a collective voice in the changes taking place in society and the forest industry.