Sixteen hour days may sound like a nightmare to some, but Kevin Wenstob sees it as time well spent.
As the owner of Wenstob Timber, one of the last independent sawmills on Vancouver Island, the Sooke man has been logging for as long as he can remember.
“There’s never downtime in the industry,” said Wenstob. “We probably take two Fridays off in a year. We can never go away on two-week holidays cause there’s a lot of work to get done.”
That work is the focus of a new reality TV series premiering on History Channel Canada in October.
Big Timber follows the dangerous work of Wenstob and his crew endeavour to log a timber claim on the rugged slopes of Klitsa Mountain, the second-highest summit on the southern half of Vancouver Island. Though the claim has a thousand truckloads waiting for him, his first goal is to get 200 loads off the mountain before winter shuts him down.
The Sooke man pointed out that he made sure to save them in retention patches when he came across five legacy trees on his claim. He believes in the sustainable part of forestry and adheres to the sustainable forest initiative.
The series was shot from September 2019 until January 2020 for the first eight episodes, and two more were filmed in mid-September.
Wenstob said he’s careful on the worksite because a log pile that’s 30 metres away is connected underground. A wrong bump could make everything roll from underneath your feet, but it’s all worth it to get “wooden gold.”
Some single logs are worth up to $30,000 in value, depending on how much they can be sold for.
“We like to control our destiny,” said Sarah Fleming, Kevin’s wife.
She recalls when her husband worked cleaning dishes as a teenager and realized he never wanted to do that again.
“We’ve always been independent for the past 25 years. Occasionally, we have to deal with small issues, but it’s our world. We’re addicted.”
Big Timber premieres on History Channel Canada at 7 p.m. on Oct. 8.
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