Sawmill conveyor on Vancouver Island. More machines and fewer workers have been the dominant trend in timber processing and manufacturing in recent decades. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Closed-door meetings with forests ministry staff and community and first nations leaders began Thursday in Williams Lake, as the B.C. government’s ambitious plan to remake the struggling Interior forest industry picks up speed.

The B.C. industry has been rocked by sawmill closures as it copes with reduced timber supply after extensive beetle damage and a slump in lumber prices. The NDP government has also moved to regulate Crown forest licence transfers, redistribute logging rights and impose restrictions on log exports.

In January, Premier John Horgan invited industry leaders to lead their own meetings on sharing forest harvest rights with local communities. Now ministry staff are conducting their own private meetings, starting in Williams Lake Thursday and Friday.

During the week of July 21, meetings are set in 100 Mile House, Anahim Lake, Burns Lake, Mackenzie and Terrace. The week of July 28 they move to Castlegar, Cranbrook, Hazelton, Houston, Quesnel and Revelstoke, with Kamloops, Vernon and northern communities during August.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said the public is invited to have their say on the province’s priorities, with a discussion paper and submissions via a new website. Topics include forest tenure, sustainability, climate change and forest carbon, manufacturing capacity, innovation and the “fibre bio-economy,” making forest-dependent communities more resilient, and reconciling with Indigenous communities.

“Part of this government’s approach is to see more involvement of first nations in forestry,” Donaldson said in an interview with Black Press. “Almost every day when we’re sitting in the legislature I have first nations come into my office to express interest in more volume and getting involved in forestry.”

RELATED: B.C. forest companies get first test of new licence rules

RELATED: Cariboo region struggles with sawmill closures

That timber volume largely would have to come from existing forest licences. New legislation passed this spring requires the minister’s approval before tenures can be sold from one company to another, such as the proposed $60 million sale of Canfor’s harvest rights to Interfor after the closure of the Vavenby sawmill near Clearwater.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce celebrates big win for LNG

Federal government moves on recommendation to provide relief on steel duties

Terrace resolutions on liquor tax, childcare to be presented at UBCM

City of Terrace agenda takes aim at provincial ‘downloading’

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Skeena Voices | Happy campers

Arizona couple celebrates 20 years of summer camping on Ferry Island

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read