Tree planting for B.C.’s Interior has been delayed until the beginning of May so that procedures around COVID-19 precautions can be implemented. (Black Press file photo)

B.C. tree planting season delayed until early May due to COVID-19 precautions

Companies will have to adhere to strict provincial health officer guidelines

Hundreds of potential tree planters poised to work in B.C. began keeping daily isolation logs a week ago in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone that plans to come and work has to spend two weeks filling out this log, describing how isolated they are and if they are having any symptoms,” said Mikin Fischer, office manager for Dynamic Reforestation Ltd. in Williams Lake.

The company has about 300 planters lined up for the season to plant from camps between Clearwater and Fort St. John and Fischer said they are trying to get them to work.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development confirmed that starting this spring, 308 million seedlings were scheduled to be planted in the province over a 10-week period.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to ensure that our operations are in alignment with the direction provided by the provincial health officer.”

With the support of BC Timber Sales and the Western Forestry Contractor’s Association (WCFA), B.C.’s chief forester requested any Interior planting that has not started, be delayed until the beginning of May to accommodate any new guidance or procedures.

Read more: Cariboo wildfire risk management efforts dampened by COVID-19 restrictions

The request further acknowledged that planting already taking place on the Coast or for contractors ready to begin planting, could do so with strict adherence to current provincial health officer guidance.

Collaborative processes between government, BCTS, licensees and the WFCA have been underway to prepare for this year’s planting season in light of COVID-19.

These include camp health and safety procedures, workforce support, communications, and planned ongoing communication with indigenous leaders and local governments.

This year’s tree planting program is in response to legal reforestation obligations, the 2017 and 2018 wildfires and the strategic use of reforestation to mitigate climate change.

“Our reforestation program must take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of workers and the communities they work in,” the spokesperson added.

Dynamic has six camps, but Fischer said they are anticipating that only four or five will be in operation this year.

Planters come from all over, she added.

One is a marathon runner who volunteers with Doctors Without Borders in the off season, another two didn’t return to plant because they recently passed their bar exams.

Fischer said she also received a call from one of the laundromats in Williams Lake informing her they are good to go and ready for the company’s tree planters, but have different rules because of the pandemic.

“I thought that was cool — I love how our community is coming together.”



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke fitness facilities reopen to the public

Extra measures set in place to ensure user safety

Playgrounds back in the swing of things on the West Shore

Langford, View Royal, Colwood reopen parks, playgrounds

National Doughnut Day pays tribute to those on frontlines of First World War

The Salvation Army will be handing out doughnuts to community partners on Friday

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

MISSING: High-risk woman last seen on May 25

Police are asking for the public’s help in locating Jennifer Daughinee-Mendelson

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Most Read