Plans to rehabilitate a local forest company’s suspended license appear to be falling apart.
In 2012, Blue Ridge Timber signed a management agreement with Meadow Creek Cedar for access to wood under its license. They hoped to meet a long list of outstanding obligations and eventually buy the quota.
However, last month the Ministry of Forests served Meadow Creek Cedar with a three-month notice of license cancellation.
A ministry spokesman confirmed Blue Ridge Timber is in the process of ending the deal “due to challenges in successfully meeting all the requirements to manage both the backlog of liabilities and current obligations associated with the license.”
No further permits will be issued under the license, which has been suspended, but some limited harvesting operations are still underway to wrap up their operations.
Despite the cancellation notice, the ministry says it understands Meadow Creek Cedar is “actively seeking a buyer for the license.” The cancellation may be rescinded or postponed if the ministry believes a satisfactory buyer will be found.
The Star has learned a Penticton company has expressed interest in acquiring the license and possibly Meadow Creek Cedar’s idled sawmill as well, although a representative did not return messages last week. If cancelled, the license would revert to the crown to decide how best to use the volume.
Trevor Kanigan of Blue Ridge Timber said last week he was unable to comment but in earlier interviews expressed frustration at how long it was taking the province to increase the volume of wood available to them.
Meadow Creek Cedar’s license was suspended two years ago for poor forestry practices and failing to meet legal obligations. The company, owned by Surrey resident Dale Kooner, was also fined more than $76,000 for a variety of infractions.
Part of Blue Ridge’s arrangement with Kooner was to pay off his penalties on a schedule tied to the license volume: for every cubic meter logged, a certain amount went to outstanding fines.
Blue Ridge is a sister company to Gold Island Forest Products, Sentinel Enterprises, and Selkirk Truss of South Slocan.