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

Abandoned house blaze worries Langley neighbours

Redevelopment area of Willowby attracts squatters and partiers, and fires fear area residents

Day 1 underway at 2019 Minto Cup in Langley

Coquitlam and Orangeville out ahead after the first day of action at Langley Events Centre

Grillers compete for best meat in Langley

Rotary Clubs bring back RibFest for a second year from Aug. 16 to 18 at McLeod Park

New defenceman signs with Vancouver Giants

Brendan Pentecost played with the Delta Hockey Academy Elite 15s

VIDEO: Protesters target Langley Ribfest, a Rotary fundraiser

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

VIDEO: Caffeine and Gasoline rolls into Langley Saturday morning

Facebook group for car enthusiasts have impromptu gatherings around the Lower Mainland

Young balance-bikers race in B.C.’s inaugural Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Most Read