Questions remain following MCFC Public Notice

McBride Community Forest Company

Allan Frederick

Following the brief Special Council meeting held on Sept. 1, the Mayor and Council, present as Board of Directors for MCFC, were asked if they would answer any questions about the status of the MCFC. The reply was “not at this time”.

A Public Notice on current issues regarding the MCFC was then posted on the MCFC office door and handed out prior to the Regular Council Meeting on Sept. 8, 2015.

Following the release, Raj Basran of BKB Cedar was contacted for comment. He stated that, after not being allowed to address Council prior to the Sept. 8 meeting, he wanted to prepare a press release for his company, which he later decided not to do. Basran did, however, accept an invitation to do an interview regarding the position that his company, business and staff are now in.

The MCFC Public Notice released by the Board indicated that they had arranged for ten loads of cedar to be delivered to the BKB mill; however, Basran and MCFC Operations Supervisor Bob Elliott had designated this volume for the mill some time ago with the Crazy Horse Logging Company. The recent wet weather had put a delay on its delivery. Basran had also been in discussion with Carrier for cedar from their operations planned for this winter, and he anticipated needing up to 250 loads to meet order requirements.

Basran commented that he would need almost one load a day to continue to operate his mill with the staff he presently has, and that without any wood in the yard at present, layoff notices would be effective as of Sept. 11.

In addition, the Block 29 was identified as to be made available for this winter’s harvesting, as mentioned at the Public Information meeting in June of this year, primarily due to the shortfall of volume in the Block now being harvested.

The mention of the overcutting is presently estimated at 11,000 cubic meters including the 10 per cent allowance for overcutting, but not adjusting for the cedar grade 4, which does not apply to the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) for the Community Forest. The statement that the overcut penalty mentioned in the notice may be between $1.70 and $7.00 per cubic meter isn’t accurate, as the Community Forest agreement indicates that the penalty for overcut, which is firstly at the District Manager’s discretion and is set to the annual tabular rates, are presently at around the $2.60 mark depending on the species of tree.   

With the Carrier licence purchase having taken almost three years, already an argument could be made that, had the MCFC/Carrier licence transfer been done on a more timely basis, the MCFC overcut could have been absorbed within the increased AAC.

Due to the recent removal of the General Manager, with no one other than the Board in charge, the financing arrangement for the Carrier licence could be in jeopardy. There are also indications that the Board of MCFC does not expect to harvest any more wood for almost a full year.     

The notice stated that the Board has Third Party professionals arriving to perform a full review and audit of MCFC’s financial, managerial, and operational activities. Estimating approximately eights weeks for this to be complete, the cost of the review may end up costing up to $50,000 or more. Did the MCFC not have a financial audit done as they do annually by the firm out of Prince George that has been involved since its inception?

There are still many questions that remain to be answered.