Meadow Creek Cedar is busy planting trees and doing road maintenance this summer in an attempt to reduce the liability that has caused the provincial government to cancel its forest licence as of Aug. 7.
The licence is for sale, with a deadline of July 15 for bids, and the buyer has to be approved by the province.
The company has gone through a labyrinth of changes of ownership and failures to meet forest licence requirements in the past few years, all of that exacerbated by a fire that destroyed its mill in the fall of 2014.
The company’s Rod Arnold says the obligations under the licence consist mostly of tree-planting and the maintenance or deactivation of roads, and they are trying to meet that liability as soon as possible.
He says the company planted 82,000 trees on 120 hectares this spring, will plant 454,000 trees next spring and 450,000 the following year. That will take care of the reforestation backlog, he said.
Part of the challenge has been to assess what needs to be done. Arnold says some areas had already been restocked naturally and they didn’t have to plant, and others had been planted but previous owners and managers had not reported it.
The same assessment process — figuring out exactly what was done in the past and what still needs to be done — also applies to road maintenance and deactivation, so the company is simultaneously assessing the need and doing the work. Arnold said he cannot attach a dollar value to the reforestation and road work because of this uncertainty.
The silviculture and road work “shows we are doing things, not just sitting back and letting it go,” says the company’s Dak Giles. “A lot of things fell through the cracks [in the past] and we are trying to fill in those cracks.”
No one at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, which issued notice of licence cancellation and is overseeing its sale, was available for comment.