Forestry Board AGM More wood is needed

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Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The Pontiac Forest Products Producers Board (PFB) held their 55th annual general meeting, April 22, at the Campbell’s Bay RA Hall. Aside from elections for the Board of Directors, the
organization’s 2014 activity report and financial statements were

Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The Pontiac Forest Products Producers Board (PFB) held their 55th annual general meeting, April 22, at the Campbell’s Bay RA Hall. Aside from elections for the Board of Directors, the
organization’s 2014 activity report and financial statements were
presented. The meeting also included various guest speakers.
According to Roy Herault, PFB President, the forestry crisis is coming to an end, but recovery in the Pontiac is very difficult given the significant decline in forestry producers and truckers. “In order to ensure the
survival of the office, it will be absolutely necessary to increase the number of active producers. We successfully marketed 92,581 m3 in 2014, which is slightly higher than last year, but it is in no way comparable to 2004 when 289,689 m3 was produced,” he added, noting that 582,196 m3 per year can be harvested in the Pontiac according to their Joint Plan.
Herault stressed that 2014 was a turbulent year, referencing the financial situation of the office, arbitration with Résolu mill in Maniwaki, and the impacts of TPI wood marketing. The PFB ended 2014 with close to $25,000 in deficit compared to an $18,000 surplus last year. “Deficits aren’t always bad,” explained PFB Auditor, Peter B. Smith. “A lot of non-profit organizations will move in and out of debt, which is an indication of providing services,” he added. Emploi Quebec supplemented PFB General Manager, Michel Leonard’s income for 40 weeks from June 2013 to March 2014, under the work incentive program.
Arbitration with Résolu
The PFB and Syndicat des Producteurs de Bois de Labelle supported conciliation efforts initiated between Résolu mill and L’Office des Producteurs de Bois de la Gatineau (OPBG) regarding contracts and a reasonable price for wood; a
judgement was rendered that the approximate $10 per ton increase the group was asking for was too high and $1.49 per ton was awarded retrospectively from December 2013 to March 2014. The three parties agreed to split the legal fees, leaving the PFB with an approximately $12,000 bill. However, the retroactive payments to the PFB amount to about $9,000 for wood that was sold by over 30 producers.  
The Board discussed applying the $9,000 in retroactive payments to the legal fees rather than using funds from the organization’s rolling fund. The rolling fund is formed from a
25 cent per ton fee the PFB charges each producer; it currently amounts to nearly $94,000. After much discussion, it was decided that each producer entitled to retroactive payments would be contacted and asked whether they agree to apply their funds to the legal fees. Those who do not agree will have their payment issued, while the amounts from those who do accept will be applied to the fees; the remaining balance for the legal fees will be taken from the rolling fund.
Local mills say more
wood is needed
Manish Shah, Head of Operations and Ranjot Dhanju, Executive of Finance and Management Systems,
at Trebio mill in Portage-du-Fort, explained the business which
produces wood pellets. “Wood pellet manufacturing is a fast growing
industry, increasing by six times in the last ten years. The pellets are in tremendous demand as a heat source, and animal bedding,” said Shah. He explained the mill has the capacity to produce 130,000 tons of pellets, which require processing a quarter of a
million tons of wood, but that last year only 14,000 tons was produced. “We have a problem with supply. Right now our plant is down only because we have no wood,” said Shah.
Members of the audience mentioned problems encountered at the mill regarding their scales, unloading, and the rejection of oversized wood. Shah and Dhanju assured the audience that they will accept all loads, and that problems with their scales and unloading have been addressed.
Christian Taillon described a
similar lack of supply at Jovalco mill in Litchfield. “We are in the start up process, but now we need wood,” he explained.
Herault added that in order for mills in the Pontiac to survive, they must work together. “We have to find a way to keep the chips produced at Jovalco, for Trebio, rather than having them sold to Ontario. It’s not an easy process, but we need to try to work out a deal. We won’t succeed if we divide ourselves,” he stated.
TPI wood
The Board mentioned the ongoing problem with the competition that is created when wood is sold from
Intra-municipal public woodlots (TPI) for a much cheaper price than private producers, which drives down market prices.  
 Elections
Elections for the Board of Directors took place as follows: Roy Herault – President; Claude Gravelle – Vice-president, sector 4; Brian Hahn – Treasurer, sector 2; Chuck Hackamore – Executive Director,
sector 1; Jean Kluke, sector 3; Robert Bouvrette, sector 5; Mike Gagnon, sector 7; sector 8 is vacant.