WFP strike sparks massive shortage of shavings on Vancouver Island

Watch Island farmers are being impacted in a big way as the Western Forest Products strike stretches on towards seven months now. With mills shut down Island wide, the byproduct wood shavings that are used for animal bedding, are at a critical shortage.

With the threat of snow hanging in the air and temperatures already dropping, Braden Wolney raced Saturday to deliver desperately needed shavings from Victoria to Campbell River so farmers could bed down their horses and cattle.

“And it’s not only the strike on the Island, said Braden Wolney of VI Enviro Shavings.

“The whole province is running out,” he said.

It’s the impact of the nearly seven month long Western Forest Products strike, now hitting Island farm gates.

“There’s no shavings left on the Island,” said Nichola Wolney.

“We’ve actually been getting a lot of calls. Especially after Christmas and New Year’s people are running out. They have nothing left,” she said.

With mills down, the byproduct wood shavings they produce are not being made. Supplies are so low that the Nanoose area farmer started bringing shavings in for his horses from Interior mills.

Then he started VI Enviro Shavings to get bedding to farmers who really need it through this strike.

“They’re running short everywhere,” said Braden Wolney.

“With all the mill closures and strikes, and it’s going to be a bigger problem than most people think here,” he said.

With snow and freezing temperature forecast to blanket Vancouver Island in the coming week it will be more critical than ever to get animals inside and comfortable right at the height of this shavings shortage.

“They can’t stand there day after day without decent bedding,” said Wolney.

“So it’s a big problem,” he said.

Even feed stores that carry smaller amounts of shavings are bracing for the shortage to cut off their supply, according to Cindy Mosby at Shar-Kare in Nanaimo.

“Even for feed stores,” said Mosby.

“On all shavings,” she said.

“A lot of people are starting to run out completely,” said Braden Wolney.

“I’m even delivering to dairy farms now that are running short and it’s not getting any better,” he said.

“It seems to be getting worse as time goes on you know there’s less and less shavings,” said the Nanoose farmer.

So Wolney says he will try to keep up with demand as best he can to keep the Island’s animals comfortable through this winter storm. While farmers along with forestry workers hope for a quick ending to this strike.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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