Tree planters set out for work in the Cariboo region. (Williams Lake Tribune)

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

With an estimated 7,000 people planting trees across Canada, the federal government has committed up to $30 million in emergency funding to help contractors cover the extra costs of COVID-19 protection.

The funds are aimed at keeping the Justin Trudeau government’s reforestation commitment to plant 600 million trees on schedule, covering costs such as sanitizing stations, additional accommodation and transportation space and personal protective equipment, Natural Resources Canada said in a statement.

B.C.’s annual program had more than 300 million of those seedlings scheduled to be planted in 10 weeks this summer, but the start was delayed to develop coronavirus pandemic plans. It got underway in May.

Measures ordered for industrial camps include spaced seating in trucks and buses, and physical spacing measures for camps.

“Faced with the challenges of both maintaining the manufacturing of essential products and ensuring seedlings are planted on schedule amid COVID-19, federal, provincial and territorial governments, together with industry, work collaboratively to quickly put in place measures to protect workers and communities,” the statement said. “The government intends to work with the provinces and territories to deliver this funding, which will preserve jobs for forest sector workers, including approximately 7,000 tree planters this year.”

In April, B.C.’s chief forester requested that any tree planting in B.C. that hadn’t started be delayed until May. Contractors imposed two-week isolation for employees before they went out to work

RELATED: B.C. tree planting delayed for COVID-19 measures

RELATED: COVID-19 cases found after gatherings in Kelowna

The B.C. government is carrying on its program through the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., including fire prevention by removing fire-killed trees for fuel pellet production. Among them is a $1.25 million grant to the Cheslatta Carrier Nation, to rehabilitate forest areas severely damaged by wildfires in 2018.

Work started in May on the south side of Francois Lake between Grassy Plains, Ootsa and Cheslatta Lakes, 65 km south of Burns Lake.

“The wildfires of 2018 burned 75 per cent of the Cheslatta Community Forest and even more overall on the territory,” said Ben Wilson, forestry coordinator for the Cheslatta Carrier Nation.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

“Let’s break the silence because we can”

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s awareness walk held Saturday in Fort St. James

New community library aims to foster positive community feelings

Vanderhoof resident has set up a little library in front of her property at the end of Lebler Road.

Vanderhoof politician running for president of UBCM

Brian Frenkel, municipal councillor, was the first Vice-President for the Union of BC Municipalities in 2019.

“Nature defines my art”: Bethany Giesbrecht, painter

This story is part of a weekly series showcasing artists in the region

Vanderhoofian nominated for the Premier’s Awards

Phil Turgeon has been nominated by the Ministry of Children and Family Development under the Leadership category.

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Wedding party bear sprayed at Okanagan campsite irks locals

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Funding to support early reclamation work at acid leaking B.C. mine

B.C. Government committing up to $1.575 million for Tulsequah Chief Mine site

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

Most Read