The Mayor of Williams Lake will be attending the 4th Annual Bark Beetle Summit in Prince George next month.
Walt Cobb will be taking part in a mayoral panel that will address the successes that communities have had to thrive despite the economic hardships associated with decreases in the allowable annual cut and the issues that still need to be addressed to make things better.
“The idea of the whole program is to find out how we’ve managed to survive and what we plan to do for the future to deal with the impacts of the bark beetle and how we’ve tried to diversify the community,” Cobb said.
“I think it should be a good session.”
Cobb said this will be his first time attending the Bark Beetle Summit.
He said he believes there has been a lot of work done on the issue in Williams Lake and that we have managed to work our way through it with the mills having done an excellent job of retooling to be able to access and utilize that wood.
“Now we got the fires to deal with besides that but we’re coming to the end, so we have to figure out what we’re going to do next to make sure our forest industry is viable,” Cobb said.
“We’re doing some work here; we’ve got the energy plant [Atlantic Power] contract, we’ve got work done by Pinnacle Pellet, there are things the mills are doing on their own but at this time they don’t want to say a lot about it.”
The Province estimates by the time the mountain pine beetle infestation is over by 2020, it will have killed an estimated 55 percent of BC’s mature merchantable pine. That figure is significantly less than the 80 percent mortality published in 2006.
The Bark Beetle Summit runs November 13th and 14th.