The project began in February 2019 and involved grinding harvesting residuals that would have otherwise been piled and burned to prepare harvesting sites for replanting. The material was trucked to PacBio’s Prince George plant for conversion into wood pellets.
“The McBride Residual Fibre Recovery Project is another example of the innovation that comes with collaboration, a willingness to maximize utilization of harvested fibre, and a resolve to minimize impacts on the environment and people’s health,” said John Stirling, Pacific Bioenergy CEO. “PacBio is proud of the collaboration with local people and contractors, and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) to make this project work. We approached the project on the principle that it is better to ultilize already harvested fibre and create new employment and contracting opportunities versus burning it and impacting local air quality.”
The project resulted in almost 9,000 tonnes of fibre being used for pellets instead of being burned. The project also created seasonal employment for people in the McBride area involved with grinding and trucking, along with new contracting opportunities for local businesses. It was done with the help of the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC).
“One of the goals of FESBC and the governments of B.C. and Canada is to mitigate climate change by improving the management of greenhouse gases in forestry,” said Steve Kozuki, FESBC executive director. “We are now making significant contributions to achieving this goal because there are so many communities, First Nations, companies like PacBio and others who are working together to create a sustainable bioeconomy that provides good jobs, community stability, and cleaner air. This project with PacBio demonstrates that benefits for both the economy and the environment are achievable when the right partners come together with a common vision. The results of this project include additional fibre for PacBio to support its wood pellet operation to make green energy in Prince George, less smoke in McBride as well as new employment and economic opportunities for the community which would not have occurred had the fibre been piled and burned.”
The project is also being hailed McBridge Mayor Gene Runtz.
“This project was a triple win for McBride,” he said. “We all breathed easier when we learned that the fibre would be used at PacBio’s plant in Prince George instead of being burned and filling the air in McBride with wood smoke. We all celebrated the grinding and trucking jobs for local residents that came with the project. PacBio told us they would hire local whenever possible and they were true to their word. The project also presented new opportunities for local businesses.
“PacBio hired local contractors for road maintenance, fibre sorting and truck loading, and rented land at a local business to inventory fibre before it was trucked to Prince George. Opportunities like these are important for a small community like ours and we thank PacBio and FES for making it all possible.”