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

Wheels in motion for mountain biking trail project near Clinton

Project to provide immediate employment while resulting in new trail on Jesmond Mountain

New wildfire springs up north of Clinton; lightning suspected as cause

Fire is not a flare-up of blaze that started on Aug. 1 near 51 Mile Creek

Financial assistance available for victims of flooding in TNRD

Government will pay 80% of eligible claims resulting from flood damage

Clinton RCMP looking for Citizens on Patrol program volunteers

Organizer hoping to have enough people to get program started in September

Free online course aims to keep care home residents, staff safe

Course gives basic COVID-19 information and safety procedures for visitors to protect the vulnerable

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Researchers find cannabis use in pregnancy linked to greater risk of autism

Researchers caution findings only show association — not cause and effect

Small Manitoba town mourning after well-liked teens killed by tornado

Melita residents feeling profound grief after the deaths of Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury

Antonio Banderas says he’s tested positive for coronavirus

Acclaimed actor celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine

Most Read