John Gregson

Local loggers receive provincial honours

NANAIMO – Forests minister recognizes woodlot operators for sound forestry practices.

Two loggers from Nanaimo have received recognition and a reward for sound forestry practices.

John Gregson, licence holder of Woodlot 1475 in Lantzville, and his brother Dave have been presented with the $2,500 Coast Area award for sound forestry and environmental practices and exceptional community stewardship by Steve Thomson, minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, as part of the 2013 Woodlot Management Awards.

The annual awards are paid for by the province and jointly administered with the Federation of B.C. Woodlot Associations.

The B.C. woodlot licence program is is a way of giving British Columbians the opportunity to manage small-scale forestry operations on Crown land.

The Gregsons, who operate Nanaimo-based Copcan Contracting, a division of Gregson Holdings, have conducted logging operations at Woodlot 1475, a 250-hectare parcel of land with second-growth timber above Lantzville, since the licence was awarded in 2009.

One of the Gregsons’ goals for harvesting from the land is to maintain the space as a recreational area for Lantzville residents and sustainable logging practices.

“It was a bit controversial when we first got [the licence],” John said. “We worked with the neighbours over the years and things are going good that way. We’ve enhanced fish streams, cleaned a whole bunch of fish streams, kept all the trails intact on the woodlot because it’s for use for the public as well, and just doing sustainable logging – replant right away.”

John said the woodlot is operated by he and his brother separately from other Gregson Holdings operations.

The Gregsons’ work has been also noted in logging trade publications and other periodicals, especially for efforts to clean out garbage left in the area by other users, and for keeping harvest volumes small and leaving older fir and cedar trees standing.

“There’s lots of nice trails through there,” John said.

Lanztville Mayor Jack de Jong said he was pleased to hear the brothers won the award.

“I think it’s just fantastic to see these small businessmen succeed,” de Jong said. “I think that’s what it’s all about and if the government can see its way clear to give out some more small areas like that, I think it would be good for the province.”

“John and David have maintained a hands-on approach and have learned how to get the most from their woodlot,” said Michelle Stillwell, Parksville-Qualicum MLA, in a press release. “Their leadership and hard work is setting an example for other woodlot operators across the province while making a real impact on the local economy and environment.”

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