June Meeting Held With Ministers

Ron Johnson, Bill Bowie, Romeo Leduc, Ivan Thompson, and Myles Thorp attended a meeting with Minister Cathers (EMR/FMB) and Minister Dixon (Ec Dev & Env) on behalf of the YWPA on June 25th 2013. We had asked to meet with Minister Istchenko (Hwys & Public works) as well however he was unable to attend.

The intent of the meeting was twofold; first we emphasized the need for government to move forward with its commitments to reduce fossil fuel dependence and carbon emissions, by developing a plan for the use of woody biomass as a renewable carbon neutral heating fuel in the Yukon. This can be done by developing a plan (not another strategy) to convert a specific number of fossil fuel based boiler systems in government buildings to wood chip boiler systems across the Yukon. The point was made that within Minister Istchenko’ s department there are a known number of oil and propane based boilers that will require replacement within the next ten to fifteen years. Instead of waiting for them to time out, replace them before their usable life is over by using them as back up units with wood chip boilers as the primary heat source. This would extend the life of the oil burners and grow the biomass industry. The point was made that there are a number of members who are prepared to invest in the equipment to produce a manufactured wood chip for the fuel at a much lower price per gigajoule of heat that the current fossil fuel provides. Our second focus at the meeting was that there are a number of private institutional structures in the Yukon that would commit to the biomass industry as well, however, they need incentives to do so and that the Energy Solutions Centre should be engaged to develop an appropriate and meaningful incentives program for this.

The reception we received was positive and the executive was pleased with the interest shown by the Ministers. We are looking forward to follow-up contacts with their various departments with regard to the creation of real jobs and economic development in the wood products industry across the Yukon.