Union could face lawsuit for false comments
VANCOUVER, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - TimberWest - whose entire forestry operations
and private lands have achieved third-party certification under two leading
international sustainability initiatives - will be suing the Steelworkers if
the union does not retract and publicly apologize for making false and
defamatory statements about the company's harvesting practices in the Kweishun
Bowl area on Vancouver Island and its forestry practices generally.
TimberWest's operations have long been independently certified under the
ISO 14001 program. Its private lands are certified under the Sustainable
Forestry Initiative(SM) program.
A retraction and apology from the Steelworkers union must be delivered by
the close of business on Monday, October 1, 2007. If the union is not prepared
to issue a retraction or apology, TimberWest will take all actions it deems
necessary to defend its rights.
"TimberWest takes pride in its logging practices and our company,
employees and contractors have worked diligently to ensure harvesting occurs
in a sustainable manner protecting biological diversity, forest productivity
and key environmental values," said Paul McElligott, TimberWest President and
On September 26th, the Steelworkers distributed information and made
statements at simultaneous news conferences critical of TimberWest's logging
practices in Kweishun Bowl and elsewhere. Of note, the union asserted that
Kweishun Bowl was a "lake". This "lake", however, does not exist; a fact that
the union knew or should have known. The video clip released by the union was
edited to make it appear that the trees were being felled into Comox Lake.
TimberWest has since demonstrated the union's claims to be false and
In response to media questions, the union acknowledged that it had been
in possession of the video for some time and the timing of its release and
attack on TimberWest was a tactical move to put pressure on TimberWest during
the current strike. This admission to apply pressure to TimberWest in labour
negotiations is a clear sign that the union has acted with malice.
Information circulated by the union also accuses TimberWest of: breaking
the law; violating its certification requirements; creating potential harm to
aquatic species; falling trees into a lake; poor forest management practices;
environmental degradation of a lake, creek and river; putting profits ahead of
workers' lives; and sustained abuse to workers and the environment.
"Our request for an apology and retraction has nothing to do with the
current labour dispute. We will not stand by idly when false and defamatory
statements are made and we will vigorously defend ourselves against these
malicious attacks," said McElligott.
TimberWest Corporate Profile
TimberWest Forest Corp. is uniquely positioned as the largest owner of
private forest lands in western Canada. The Company owns in fee simple
approximately 334,000 hectares or 825,000 acres of private timberland that,
over the previous five years, have provided an annual average harvest of
2.594 million m3 of logs and have an approximate annual growth rate of 8.0 m3
per hectare per year on the productive land base. These timberlands are
located on Vancouver Island and the majority of the land base supports the
growth of Douglas fir, a premium tree species sought after for structural
purposes. TimberWest runs fully-contracted harvesting operations. With almost
80% of the Company's annual private land logging now being done in
second-growth stands, TimberWest leads the Coastal industry in the growing and
harvesting of second-growth timber.
The Company's independent auditor, KPMG Performance Registrar Inc.,
periodically certifies that the forest management practices on the Company's
private timberland continue to meet all Sustainable Forestry Initiative
(SFI(R)) requirements. SFI requirements specify that forest harvesting is
integrated with environmental and conservation goals for soil, wildlife, water
quality protection, conservation of biodiversity, protection of special sites
and aesthetics in a manner that ensures a sustainable harvest over the
TimberWest also owns renewable Crown harvest rights to 0.7 million m3 of
logs per year and operates a sawmill located near Campbell River, BC.
In addition, approximately 38,000 hectares or 94,000 acres of the
Company's private forest lands have been identified as having greater value as
real estate properties and will progressively be made available for higher
uses over the next ten to fifteen years. The Company reviews its land base on
a periodic basis to update the size of its portfolio of higher use properties.
Stapled Units of TimberWest Forest Corp. are traded on the Toronto Stock
Exchange under the symbol: TWF.UN
Visit us at our web site: www.timberwest.com
For further information:
For further information: Steve Lorimer, Manager, Public Affairs &
Government Relations, TimberWest Forest Corp., Telephone: (250) 729-3727,