BC’s Forest Minister has fired back at accusations that having people in Victoria with no experience in the north dictating the future of the forest industry is not going to work.
Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson made that claims during a trip through the interior this week.
Donaldson says it was the Liberals that didn’t plan for the eventual reduced timber supply because of the mountain pine beetle…
“The opposition, when they were in government, knew this was coming. My critic John Rustad, my Forestry Critic, he’s quoted publicly in 2014 saying there will likely be ten mills shutting down because of the end of the beetle wood so what didn’t happen that could have happened was actually come up with a plan and instead, the BC Liberals kicked the can down the road.”
Donaldson says they are now working on a plan to ensure that as many jobs are saved as possible and to help communities and First Nations deal with the outcomes of the lack of fibre availability that we see now…
“We have created an interior process, and that’s a process where we’re challenging companies to bring together community leaders and First Nations and labour, to come up with a timber supply area approach to dealing with the falling fibre supply. At the same time we’re launching a public engagement process on policy around our interior forest policy and some of that can deal with reducing the amount of fibre that is left behind, so we can encourage more fibre to be brought off the land and into communities and into mills and into hand of entrepreneurs to create more jobs.”
Donaldson says they are also promoting mass timber products and the Premier just announced that the new St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and the new Royal BC Museum in Victoria will be built using mass timber products.
On the wildfire front, Donaldson says they have increased the preventative measures and increased the fire fighting budget by 58 percent.