New rules for slash could lead to pellet plant in region

A city forester believes new rules in the bush to award tenure and allow recovery of roadside slash will stimulate investment in a local pellet plant.

The B.C. Liberal government announced Tuesday it has introduced regulatory changes that provide access to slash and wood waste.

Licences will allow smaller operators to obtain small trees, branches, limbs and tops that are typically burned on site at logging operations.

"This has been a long time coming," said consulting forester Chris Ortner.

"If you drive on a logging road anywhere 15 minutes from Kamloops you'll find piles that are going to be burned. . . . There's no incentive to bring it out."

The tenure will award rights to woodwaste, something that Ortner said may give a potential large pellet manufacturer security of supply needed to invest.

A small operator in East Kamloops, SBC Firemaster, operated several years ago supplying to the pellet bag market before it failed. But Ortner said there is a larger market supplying pellets that are exported and burned in offshore countries to create energy.

"If we had a pellet plant or someone who wanted fibre, it gives them access. . . . The pellet business is right for Kamloops. We've got rail, fibre and now we've got tenure."

Ortner also said ranchers or small pole mills may also be able to utilize some of the slash material.

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