The Mayor of Williams Lake is back from Prince George after having attended the 4th annual Bark Beetle Sumit.
At the Summit on Thursday and Friday, Walt Cobb helped lead a mayoral panel with the Mayors of Mackenzie, Vanderhoof and Houston to 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.
He says because the beetle epidemic hit our area first we have had to deal with it longer whereas as further north they’re at a different stage of dealing with it.
“As far as the pine beetle goes we’re in the final stages of it and we’ve had a huge amount of our area affected by it, and now we’re trying to get that area reforested, get the ground cleaned up, whereas some of the other stages are still at a stage where they can utilize that wood,” Cobb says.
“So what information I was able to give is some of the things we’ve done as a community to try and help industry, to support the industry as they went through the transition from the different sorts of wood to be able to harvest it.”
As for what he was able to take away from the Summit, Cobb says despite all of the work being done since the beetle infestation, it is still being studied.
“They’re studying this, they’re studying that and the indication was that probably by the time we finish studying on what we could do, what we might do or what happened there’s going to be another epidemic of something else, and I think we’re seeing that with the fir beetle and the spruce beetle,” Cobb says.
“I think what’s happening is as the climate changes the things change and as we let trees get too old like people they get infected with different things, and unfortunately there’s probably nothing we can do about it. By the time we figure out what to do about it, it’s going to be too late. It was lots of good information but it wasn’t very encouraging.”