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Forest diversification report highlights potential for central Newfoundland

Several five-year forest management plans have been registered for environmental assessment with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment.
Several five-year forest management plans have been registered for environmental assessment with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment.

A report on forest diversification for the province has confirmed what Grand Falls-Windsor Coun. Peggy Bartlett says was already known – there’s a lot of potential for development in the central region.

The report was commissioned following the closure of the town’s pulp and paper mill in 2008-2009, and was funded by the provincial government.

The report states that the there’s significant underutilization of the province’s timber resources with 13-million cubic metres left unharvested.

Furthermore, while this forest area is spread throughout the province, significant concentrations of timber are noted within the central area, where the plant harvesters would traditionally cut.

With a significant decline in the demand for newsprint, the 77-page study states the need to branch out in order to restore an economically viable industry.

New opportunities to assist diversification in central include a sorting terminal, biorefinery and/or pellet mill, and value-added wood products, amongst others.

“We are perfectly positioned in central because we have resources and the stock right here,” said Bartlett. “There are opportunities in all of it, for sure; however, it all requires money, partners and capital … so we need to go out and find willing partners, which is the challenge.”

With data to backup what the central region has to offer in timber resources, the Grand Falls-Windsor councillor says it bodes well for potential investors.

“Things don’t happen immediately and spur of the moment – it takes time, and this research package that we have here will provide the research for any business looking to bring new industry to the area,” she said.

The full report can be read here

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