Forestry department to cover $258,000 loss with reserves

Revenues will rise over the next two years due to a projected increase in logging volumes: Allan

The district’s forestry operation lost over a quarter-million dollars in 2011, according to figures released at Monday’s council meeting.

The $258,000 loss will be covered by the forestry reserve which is currently sitting at $412,000.

“This gives you an indication that we should be building up the reserves in forestry,” said Coun. Larry Nundal.

Director of forest management Kim Allan said the projected increase in logging volumes in the next two years will raise revenues. The district has been cutting less than its maximum allotment, and saving its best timber for when the market rebounds, he added.

Mission’s operation is within a five-year cut control period ending 2013 operating at a 35,000 to 38,000 cubic metres (m3) volume. That will now rise to about 50,000 m3 in the final two years.

The loss is being blamed on a lower volume of harvested logs, market declines in the latter part of the year, and the less valuable younger age and species mix.

Allan said that although the direct costs of logging has remained profitable, the department’s overhead costs have to be taken into account.

“We have a building, we have bills to pay, brushing plantations, doing reforestation, recreation trails, staff overhead, you know, the fixed costs. So, when we make money over and above from our logging, we need to pay those other things as well.”

“The expert forecasts are that we are moving into a more profitable period,” said Coun. Jenny Stevens, rebuffing skepticism from Coun. Tony Luck.

Forestry will be part of the council’s core services review, taking place between March and June.

DBA makes recommendations

The Downtown Business Association has submitted six recommendations toward encouraging people to visit, shop, and eat on First Avenue.

Included in the recommendations is a controversial call to lower the speed limit to just 30 km/h and divert trucks using the Murray Street overpass.

Other suggestions include increased parking enforcement, higher urban density, and pushing for eastbound trains during the day.

Staff were directed to  come back with a report on the recommendations.