Coastal logging contractors affected by the ongoing labour dispute between the United Steel Workers and Western Forest Products can now apply for bridging loans to help them make payments on their logging equipment.

The provincial government established the $5-million Coast Logging Equipment Support Trust to help avert foreclosure of logging equipment on the coast. Through the trust, eligible independent coastal logging contractors will be able to borrow bridging funds.

Earlier this month, the Province appointed Eric van Soeren as an independent trustee with full oversight of the CLEST. In this role, van Soeren will be responsible for all financial decisions for the trust, independent from the government. The trust will provide qualified applicants with long-term loans at commercial rates for their eligible logging equipment assets.

Van Soeren will undertake all financial assessments and negotiate the structure of the loans. Eligible coastal logging contractors (applicants) who are approved for funding through the CLEST will not receive money directly. The trustee will co-ordinate all loan payments with the leaseholders, financial institutions and equipment companies for logging equipment that is in arrears.

Eligibility and application details for the CLEST are available online on this website.