The Province of Ontario said Friday it is spending $60 million on its forest biomass program, making the announcement at Millson Forestry Service in Timmins.

"My parents started Millson Forestry back in 1980," said Jenny Millson, a second-generation business owner.

"They started just with growing trees. We’ve planted trees, done site prep, we’ve harvested, we have a seed extraction facility -- we have expanded into a lot of things over the years, mainly in the realm of forestry.”

It's a rare occasion that she welcomes a provincial minister on the property.

Graydon Smith, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry said Millson's is receiving half a million dollars for a biomass project that will grow its economic potential and be good for the environment.

“What we’ll do is get from a point today where we’re using some biomass to a point tomorrow where we’re using a lot of biomass," said Smith.

"We want to use those residuals as part of sustainable forest management. We also want to get those residuals out of the bush in some cases, right, (because) they’re contributing to forest fires.”

Millson biomass

Millson said the funding will allow her to install a new heating system in the greenhouse. She said that will reduce reliance on natural gas, reduce the carbon tax she has to pay and extend the growing season.

"We’re going to be setting up a compost heat recovery system," said Millson.

"We generate some biomass from our firewood operation so we’ll be using that biomass to compost and in doing so with the heat recovery system, we’ll be able to use the heat from the compost to heat one of our growing structures.”

While the forestry industry in northeastern Ontario isn't what it used to be, government officials said announcements like this one help.

"We laid out the four-sector strategy five years ago and continue to work through that and biomass is gonna’ play a huge part in that," said Smith.

Apitipi Anicinapek Nation near Matheson is receiving $250,000 to prepare to participate in biomass opportunities. Wiikwemkoong Unceded Indian Reserve will get the same amount to conduct a feasibility study for a proposed pellet plant facility.

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