The 2020 Truck Loggers Association (TLA) Convention will take place January 15-17 at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver. The event will cover a range of topics, including the direction of the B.C. forest industry, utilizing fibre, cost trends, hourly rates of forestry equipment, diversifying forest tenure, and more.

“Conveniently, we’ll be in the year 2020, and we’re playing off that with the idea of clear sight,” David Elstone, TLA’s (outgoing) executive director, tells CFI. “There’s a desperate need for trying to see through all the uncertainty and turmoil and industry crisis that’s happening right now.

“We’re trying to design a convention that tries to answer the delegates’ questions regarding so many things – the direction of politics, the direction of the economy, the direction of the markets, and, of course, the direction of future forest policy,” he adds.

A vision for every day

“Every day has a 2020 vision that helps us see into the future,” Elstone says about the three-day conference.

Day 1 will kick off with an “encore performance” from Robert Shaw and Richard Zussman, from The Vancouver Sun and Global BC, respectively, Elstone says. The two reporters opened the conference last year and will once again share on-the-ground political insight at the provincial level.

MNP’s Susan Mowbray will provide an economical review, exploring the cost trends affecting contractor’s businesses.

Greg Lyle, a researcher who studies public perception through polling, will start Day 2 with some insights about public perception of the forestry industry and how the industry can address some challenges.

“He will set the stage for the morning, and then the whole entire afternoon is a must-see,” Elstone says.

The afternoon sessions will focus on the issue of timber supply and fibre utilization, which has become a key topic of discussion for everyone in the B.C. forest industry given the current market challenges.

“People see the wood waste, but the reality is there are challenges to utilizing the waste,” Elstone explains. “We’ll get a whole bunch of different perspectives on that, from the theoretical planning perspective to hearing what small licensees and First Nations forest license managers have to say about it.”

Finally, Day 3 of the conference will feature a “hard-hitting discussion” with B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Doug Donaldson. The discussion will be moderated by Tracey Russell, from The Inland Group, and also feature TLA president Mike Richardson, TLA vice-president Bill Nelson and TLA immediate past president Jacqui Beban.

The conversion will cover a range of forest policy changes in B.C., including log exports, old growth, fibre utilization and UNDRIP, Elstone says. Audience participation is highly encouraged.

Overall, approximately 30 speakers will try to provide insights and answer questions about the many issues facing B.C. contractors.

“That’s our goal – trying to give people as much insight and direction as possible,” Elstone says. He predicts that 350 to 400 people will attend the convention each day, culminating with upwards of 1,000 people attending the Supplier’s Night dinner at the end of the conference.

“We know it’s going to be challenging times,” Elstone adds. “The B.C. Coast has really been paralyzed by the strike and market conditions, so we really want to encourage people to come because this is an opportunity to get first-hand knowledge and network, and, if anything, to commiserate, but also to find out what’s going on – what are the trends and where are things going to go? If you want to make an investment in yourself, this is one of the things to do – come to the TLA convention.”

For more information about the TLA convention and tradeshow and to register, visit www.tla.ca/convention.

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