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

Warriors look to snap 4 game losing streak in Trail

West Kelowna takes on the Smoke Eaters Friday night

Central Okanagan Journey Home Society names new executive director

Stephanie Ball will head the Journey Home strategy

Kelowna International Airport to invest $67M to expand terminal

It’s the largest capital investment in the airport’s 72-year history

Former NHLer coming to Kelowna to recognize first responders

Theo Fluery joins the Kelowna Professional Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society Jan. 11

Foote continuing with Team Canada for World Juniors

The roster has nearly been set for the World Juniors launch on Dec. 26

VIDEO: Feds give update on flying clearance for Santa’s sled

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has this message for the country’s children

Kootnekoff: Accommodating religious celebrations

Employers must be mindful that not everyone celebrates holidays which are days off

Investigators confirm three died in B.C. plane crash

Transport Canada provides information bulletin

Prime Minister sets 2025 timeline for plan to remove fish farms from B.C. waters

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Canada’s Attorney General looking to larger reforms on doctor-assisted death

The Quebec Superior Court gave Ottawa just six months — until March 2020 — to amend the law

Drug alert for purple fentanyl issued in Kamloops

Interior Health issued an alert for the deadly drug on Friday

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

I’m Just Saying: Our society needs a re-sex education lesson

Jordyn Thomson is a reporter with the Western News

Penticton Indian Band to host new by-election after successful appeal of 2017 results

On Dec. 13, the membership voted to host a new by-election

Most Read