The City of Terrace has joined the Northwest Loggers Association (NLA) in asking the province to rethink its old-growth deferral plan and to to hold an inclusive discussion involving industry and First Nations.
On Nov. 2, Forests Minister Katrine Conroy proposed a plan to defer harvesting on 2.6 million hectares of ancient forests while the province consults with First Nations.
Conroy’s announcement was met with much resistance from forestry workers across the province.
The City of Terrace agreed to write a letter of support for the NLA, following a presentation by NLA members John Nester and Rick Brouwer during a Nov. 22 council meeting.
Nester told council that logging associations came together and offered to be a part of the province’s review and part of the conversation along First Nations. But despite repeatedly requesting to include industry and First Nations’ input in the stakeholder discussions, Nester said they were not consulted.
“The result of this has been a non-transparent process based on questionable science and assumptions. It seems designed to put the industry into chaos, and many jobs and communities at risk,” he said.
“First Nations, industry, communities and workers deserve a better, more transparent, balanced approach in creating a long term strategy for old growths.”
He also said that the deferral on already approved cutting permits will put many business in serious jeopardy and this, coupled with the ban on B.C. timber sales will choke the supply of wood in many areas.
The ministry estimated earlier this month that if all of the deferral areas are protected, it would result in the loss of 4,500 jobs in the forest industry. But Nester estimates job losses to be as high as 18,000 as well as an economic loss of over $140 million to Terrace and surrounding areas.
“The minister [Conroy] keeps touting that they are following the recommendations of the old growth strategy review, but are ignoring some very important recommendations, such as the very first recommendation that was on the list involve full engagement of Indigenous organizations to review any policy development or strategy,” Nester told Terrace council.
“Secondly, provide the public with timely and objective information about forest conditions and trends and that socioeconomic studies should be done before any deferrals were put in place.”
Last week, the provincial government’s announcement was met with resistance from forestry industry workers in the Bulkley Valley and beyond, striking back against potential logging deferrals on 2.6 million hectares of old-growth forest around the province