This spring, HELP International received a license to operate the Shelterbelt Centre in Indian Head, but CEO Rodney Sidloski says the Federal Government have made it all but impossible to run the farm and have put the Shelterbelt Centre and his organization in jeopardy.
The decomissioning and restricted access to facilities, equipment and fields at the site have been crippling for the organization, he says, adding, "We asked to enter last fall to make sure that trees were field lifted in the fall, all the ones that are typically, which is the vast majority, so we'd know what the inventory are, so they'd be in refrigeration, so we could have time for proper marketing, etc. And that delayed all the way into April which bypassed many, many deadlines."
HELP applied for the license to operate the farm in the fall, but it was only granted in April, which kept them from meeting important planting and harvesting deadlines.
"Everything to stall out, to handicap, thwart, and really sabotage any poplar program," he says, "and now after we can't get any market capacity out of that centre, now wants us to pay $100,000 which would flatten our organization, not just make it unviable there, but really flatten HELP International."
Sidloski says they were the only organization that did not ask for any money from the government to run the Centre, and did not expect to be treated this way.