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Provincial Government deferring timber dues for six months

The Alberta Provincial Government will be providing immediate relief to foresty companies effected by COVID-19 by deferring timber dues for six months.
Spray Lake Sawmills is one of the many facilities across the province that will have timber dues deferred for six months. Submitted Photo

COCHRANE— The Provincial Government is deferring timber dues for six months to provide immediate relief for forestry companies effected by COVID-19.

The Alberta government is using existing legislation to defer timber dues, a Ministry Of Agriculture and Forestry release said. The deferral is in response to the extreme near-term pressures the forest sector is experiencing due to a slow down in construction and retail sales and pauses in production.

“Alberta’s forest sector is our third-largest resource industry, behind energy and agriculture. Ensuring the economic viability for our responsible forest companies will help Alberta families and contribute to our economic recovery," said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen.

This deferral of dues is designed to support companies that have self-isolating staff or other constraints that require them to work from home. It is hoped the deferral will help rural economies by providing stable employment in the forest industry.

The release added that due to the pandemic the forest industry has experienced low markets for lumber, oriented strand board and pulp.

According to the provincial government there are 18,700 workers employed in the forest sector. The industry contributed $2.2 billion to the provincial GDP in 2018.

Cochrane based Spray Lake Sawmills said the deferrals will provide relief for the company.

"Spray Lake Sawmills appreciates the Government of Alberta’s decision to defer timber dues payments for six months," said Spray Lake Sawmills Vice President Ed Kulcsar.

"We have been impacted by the rapidly deteriorating, essentially non-existent lumber market created by the COVID 19 world pandemic. Spray Lakes understands we retain the liability for the dues owing but the temporary relief at this time of crisis is welcomed."