Military aircraft approaches lightning-sparked forest fires near Williams Lake during the summer of 2017. (Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

MLAs unanimous on B.C. wildfire recovery

Finance committee calls for rapid salvage, reforestation

MLAs touring B.C. communities in advance of the NDP’s first budget have called for incentives to salvage wildfire-damaged timber, and increased forest fuel management and reforestation.

The all-party committee of the B.C. legislature held hearings in 12 communities this fall, and unanimously focused their main recommendation on the aftermath of B.C.’s record area burned in summer forest fires.

“Committee members heard from business owners in areas affected by the wildfires who are facing labour shortages due to a number of employees not returning home after evacuation,” says the committee’s final report to Finance Minister Carole James.

RELATED: Ranchers await AgriRecovery funds

Chaired by NDP MLA Bob D’Eith (Maple Ridge-Mission) and B.C. Liberal MLA Dan Ashton (Penticton), and including B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver (Oak Bay-Gordon Head) the committee stressed the need to “incentivize” the harvest of fire-damaged timber in southern and central B.C.

That’s a delicate issue for B.C., already subject to punitive tariffs by the U.S. government, after their latest industry claims of dumping and government subsidy from the cost of Crown land timber. Any government program assisting Canadian producers is seized upon by U.S. interests.

In an phone call from Tokyo during B.C.’s annual Asia lumber trade mission, Donaldson said efforts are underway to implement the main recommendations of the finance committee.

RELATED: U.S. lumber dispute drives B.C.’s effort in Asia

“We’re expediting the harvest of fire-impacted timber and getting it to the mills in a timely manner, because we know how the wood can degrade quickly,” Donaldson said. “Also, we have allocated $140 million over the next two years into forest enhancement, and that also involves the management of urban interface forests and fuel mitigation.”

The committee also calls for public education “to develop a culture of prevention, preparedness and resiliency among British Columbians regarding natural disasters, including wildfires, floods, hazardous material spills, earthquakes and tsunamis.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with northern B.C. First Nations governments

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

$15 million spent on cancelled transmition line

BC Hydro had already spent approximately $15 million on planning a new… Continue reading

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

New funding available for industry innovation

Northern Development Initiative Trust opened new funds, focused on areas impacted by the pine beetle

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read