The Cariboo Mayors were joined by the provincial government and the Council of Forest Industries last Thursday. (June 27th)

Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says they talked about where the province was going with its interior renewal strategy…

“How we get together in each of the timber supply areas… industry, First Nations, local government, workers…and start planning on a localized basis what some of our options and opportunities are to get us through this challenging transition period.”

Simpson says they also talked about what can’t be done to help out the forest industry, namely reducing stumpage or the carbon tax…

“Both the Council of Forest Industries and the government stated categorically that is not possible, and they will not be reducing any of the costs associated with the industry, because it would trigger a softwood lumber dispute and they would lose some upcoming appeals.”

Simpson says they received a commitment from the Deputy Forests Minister that the transition teams that are in place will receive additional resources.

He says they also all agreed that additional assistance was needed from the Federal Government…

“To look at the possibility of pension bridging and some additional resources through their Employment Insurance program. The Council of Forest Industries indicated that they would take the lead on drafting that on behalf of their member companies, because in many cases the companies usually have to initiate that dialogue with the Federal Government, and that we would look at a combined sign off between the province, local government and COFI, for what those additional federal resources would be, so we’re waiting to see the draft of that letter sometime this week or next.”

Besides Mayor Simpson, 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall was also at the meeting and both Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb and Cariboo Regional District Chair Margo Wagner were on the phone.

Those in attendance from the Council of Forest Industries included President and CEO Susan Yurkovich, Chair Don Cain who is also the CEO of Canfor, West Fraser Vice-President James Gorman and senior management from Carrier, Dunkley Lumber and Conifex.