Updated: The provincial government is accepting public input in shaping the future of the Interior’s forest sector until October 11, 2019.
Recent mill closures and curtailments according to a news release is the result of lower prices for lumber, pressure from foreign trade action, a shrinking timber supply due to back-to-back wildfire seasons, and the end of the mountain pine beetle salvage harvest.
“The previous government failed to help the forest sector when it had a chance, eroding the public’s trust in B.C.’s forest sector operations and diminishing its competitive advantage,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“We are taking action and making different choices by asking for local input and insight into how we want to shape a prosperous, competitive and culturally sensitive Interior future forest sector.
Ministry staff are also holding localized in-person engagement sessions in various Interior communities with the first meeting taking place in Williams Lake this afternoon.
A What We Heard report on feedback received is expected to be released in late fall 2019.
The BC Liberals said in a news release the NDP continue ‘to do nothing as hard-working rural B.C. workers suffer.’
“For the NDP to declare their intention to sit on their hands until the middle of October is completely unacceptable and downright insulting,” said John Rustad, BC Liberal Forestry Critic and MLA for Nechako-Lakes.
“The mayor of Fort St. James is pleading for immediate assistance and this government launches a public relations campaign. It’s absolute nonsense.”
(Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include reaction from the BC Liberals)