The harvest postponement process will have devastating effects: BC Council of Forest Industries

SUSAN Yurkovich, president and CEO of the BC Council of Forest Industries, responded to the government’s announcement, saying in a statement: “Today, the province has indicated that it will continue a process to clear an additional 2.6 million acres of forests in BC. If fully implemented, this step will have a profound and devastating impact on people, families and communities throughout the province.

“While we are still digesting the details, our initial analysis suggests that these postponements would result in the closure of between 14 and 20 sawmills in BC, along with two pulp mills and an indefinite number of value-added production facilities. This represents approximately 18,000 good, family-supporting jobs lost together. with over $ 400 million in lost revenue to the government each year – revenue that helps pay for health care, education and other services that British Colombians count on.

“The government’s announcement today is based on recommendations received from a panel of advisers appointed earlier this year, four out of five of whom have links to environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and the West Coast Environmental Law.

“It is unfortunate that the panel has made their recommendations without due regard to the impact on the people and communities who depend on the forest, including a small part of old growth, for their livelihoods.

“It is particularly worrying that these postponements are coming on the heels of a pandemic that has challenged us all and where the forest industry has been a strong light. We got people to work safely and continued to provide more than $ 4 billion in revenue. to the government over the past year, which has helped put our province in a better financial position than most.Now the key industry that has and can continue to contribute to our resilience is being destroyed.

“At a time when the world is looking for low – carbon forest products from sustainably managed forests to help address the climate challenge we all face, it is disappointing that today’s announcement ignores the fact that BC is already a leader in conservation and globally recognized for its certified sustainable forestry methods and products.

“Old growth is an important part of our provincial ecosystem, and as demonstrated by both the panel and a recent independent study of forest resources commissioned by COFI, BC has about 11.4 million hectares of old forests, the majority of which – over 75 percent – are already protected. or lies outside the timber harvesting basis.This will ensure that there are plenty of old forests in our province for future generations.

“Small, medium, large, family-owned and indigenous forest companies, contractors, suppliers and workers are extremely concerned that the province is moving in this direction. We continue to believe that we can create a positive path forward that supports conservation, creates the climate-friendly products the world wants, and supports jobs and strong communities throughout BC.

“Our strong hope is that the province will commit to a fact-based, balanced and inclusive approach, including meaningful engagement with indigenous nations, forestry professionals and other local experts, before proceeding with decisions that could irreparably harm workers, businesses and communities across the board. of our province. “

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