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

Build a new pool or fix the old? Port Hardy mayor wades in

‘… whatever we do going forward we want the support of the community’

Fear and ignorance have spiked racism in the province: B.C’s human rights commissioner

Kasari Govender has been virtually interacting with citizens in remote, rural areas to address concerns of discrimination

COVID-19 tests come back negative in remote First Nation community

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

Most Read