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CWF Members Ready for Recovery

Eastern Canada’s forest industry came together in Moncton, N.B., in early April for the 2011 Canadian Woodlands Forum Spring Meeting and the organization’s 92nd Annual General Meeting.


November 7, 2011
By Bill Tice editor

Approximately 200 people attended the day and a half program, which included presentations by industry experts, open discussions on equipment and issues facing the region’s loggers, awards, and a fund raising dinner and auction for the “Log-a-Load for Kids Canada” program.

“This year’s Spring Meeting continued to offer members of the industry an informative and educational program along with the opportunity to ‘rub shoulders’ and share experiences with their colleagues,” said Peter Robichaud, executive director of the CWF. “It was also encouraging this year to see some new faces during the sessions, which can be considered a good sign of a recovering industry. Although everyone agreed that we are not ‘out of the woods yet,’ there was certainly a positive ‘buzz’ and sense of optimism in the sessions and at the networking events, especially from our contractors, representatives of the forest product companies and supplier members.”

Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, delivered the keynote address for the meeting.  In addition to providing an overview of the current state of the forest industry, Lazar outlined “four fundamental pillars” that need to be considered when looking at Canada’s forest products sector: improving productivity; diversification – penetrate new markets; translating green performance into market advantage and performance; and extracting more value from every tree.

Peter Lister, vice-president of FPInnovations, followed Lazar, discussing the role of innovation in improving manufacturing efficiencies and competitiveness in Canada’s forest sector. Next were presentations by representatives of each of the Atlantic provinces with a focus on provincial perspectives.

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Over lunch, the provincial recipients for Outstanding Logging Contractor of the Year were presented. For New Brunswick it was the brother team of Bill and Ron Gillespie of W&R Gillespie Ltd., for Newfoundland and Labrador it was Sterling Fowlow of Arthur Fowlow Ltd., while for Nova Scotia it was Peter Van Den Heuvel. From the three provincial winners, Fowlow took home the honour of 2011 Atlantic Outstanding Logging Contractor of the Year.

Two concurrent sessions were held after the awards luncheon, with the always popular contractors’ round table discussion on equipment facilitated by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s Deon Hamlyn happening in one room, while in the other room the focus was on the technical aspects of forestry, especially forest management. ‘’

One interesting topic of discussion was LIDAR technology. FPInnovations and the Canadian Wood Fiber Centre provided the update, which covered how LIDAR technology can play a role with precommercial thinning (PCT).

A major highlight at the CWF Spring Meeting is the Log-a-Load for Kids Canada dinner and silent auction. The event raised over $5,100 for the program this year, with many industry members donating prizes.

The next major events for the CWF are in August when they will host two teacher tours – one in English and one in French. The CWF Fall Meeting will be held Oct. 19 and 20 in Fredericton, N.B.