Kelowna gearing up to welcome B.C. forest industry convention

Premier Christy Clark and Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson, B.C.'s forest minister, will deliver keynote addresses.

When you hold your annual convention in an MLA’s riding, it’s often easy to get that MLA out to speak.

When the riding belongs to B.C.’s premier, sometimes that can be more difficult.

But when the subject is forestry, one the largest industries in the province,  the group gathering is the Council of Forest Industries and they are getting together in her riding,  having the premier as your keynote speaker would appear to be a given.

Premier Christy Clark will deliver the closing keynote address to the delegate of the annual COFI convention next week in Kelonwa. The convention will run  April 6 to 8 at the Delta Grand Resort.

“Premier Clark’s attendance at the COFI Convention demonstrates her understanding of the importance of the forest sector to the economy of B.C.,” said COFI president and CEO Susan Yurkovich in making the anouncement.

“Our operating environment is key to the ability of our companies to continue to compete successfully in a global marketplace and to provide jobs and opportunities across our province.

In addition to Premier Clark, the provincial government will be well-represented on the convention program, including an opening keynote from another local MLA, Kelonwa-Mission’s Steve Thomson, B.C.’s  forests, lands and natural resource operations minister. During the convention there will also be a discussion with Thomson’s deputy minister Tim Sheldan and the province’s chief forester Diane Nicholls. Glenn Mason, the federal assistant deputy minister of natural resources  will also address convention delegates.

Yurkovich said B.C. towns and cities will be a prominent part of the convention program this year, with a  community leaders’ panel, featuring West Kelonwa Mayor Doug Findlater as well as the mayors of Prince George, Williams Lake, and Cranbrook. The panel will discuss issues and opportunities shared by the forest industry and communities.

According to COFI, 140 B.C. communities are dependent on forestry, there are 300 wood products manufacturing facilities in province and they  provide one out of every four manufacturing jobs in B.C. Forestry and wood products account for 35 per cent of all commodity exports from this province.

“The industry directly and indirectly employs about 145,000 across the province, from Fort St. John to Vancouver, with one in 16 jobs in the province being associated with forestry,” said Yurkovich. “Those are significant numbers, and at this year’s convention we will be addressing some of the issues of critical importance to our sector and to the many people who rely on it for their livelihood.”


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