The MLA for Cariboo North says one of the things that she will remember from 2019 is how the area recovered from the wildfires of not only 2018 but 2017.
Coralee Oakes says a lot of steps were taken to make communities safe…
“I am incredibly proud a year after the fires you’ve got fire wardens in some of our smaller unincorporated communities, you’ve got the United Way fire smarting program that goes out and supports seniors, we have the Canadian Rangers that were announced, the new division here in Quesnel, and on that side I am incredibly proud of making sure we keep our community safe.
Oakes says public safety and the struggles of the forest industry were two issues that emerged in 2019.
On the first one, Oakes says the community needs to come together…
“We need to listen to one another and we need to sit at the table and figure out where the gaps that we currently have in our community, what are the resources that are needed to help make the community feel safe, whether it’s downtown or in their homes.”
Oakes says we also need to make sure that we’re supporting the RCMP, the courts, Northern Health, and the social services agencies, to help with this issue.
On forestry, Oakes says maybe we should take a page out of the oil and gas industries’ book…
“Why are we not getting a percentage of the stumpage back into our community similar to how oil and gas sector does in the Peace and the Northern Rockies, and now of course in the Northwest ? Why can’t we advocate for a percentage of that stumpage back and maybe that fund, in our instance, goes to supporting resource roads or rural roads and having some of the logging contractors do some of the work on that ?”
Oakes says that was a great takeaway that came out of one of the meetings she’s had with contractors.
She says supports are also needed in the short term however, for contractors and small businesses.