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

Proposed Sooke gun law sent back to administration. Again.

Fifth time lucky for firearms and bow bylaw?

Help support the Sooke food bank by sharing some Christmas cheer

The Christmas season is spreading it’s cheer throughout the community and the… Continue reading

Police impound 19 vehicles for excessive speed on Malahat

Excessive speed is classified as going more than 40 km/h over the limit in that stretch

Beaches near Sidney’s Tsehum Harbour to receive first clean up in years

Peninsula Streams Society hopes to attract 50 volunteers for the Saturday event

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Penticton RCMP warn of new ‘porting’ scam that puts internet banking, online accounts at risk

Two-factor verification has been the go-to way to keep online accounts secure

Thunberg ‘a bit surprised’ to be Time ‘Person of the Year’

‘I could never have imagined anything like that happening,’ she said in a phone interview

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

The Russell Troupe finds a comfort zone in small Island community

Family gathering with two parents and five kids a common scene around Chemainus

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Most Read