Public input sought for BC Interior Forest Sector Renewal
By Ellen Cools
The B.C. government is seeking public input to help shape the B.C. Interior forest sector.
“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 Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson in a statement. “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.”
According to a press release, the Interior Forest Sector Renewal process, announced by the B.C. government in April this year, aims to act on the factors contributing to mill closures.
Public engagement will focus on a discussion paper that has been developed in one of two complementary, parallel streams within the Interior Forest Sector Renewal process. From July 18 to Oct. 11, 2019, the public is invited to provide written submissions or feedback on the discussion paper through an online survey.
Specifically, the public is being asked to provide feedback on:
- forest tenure and fibre supply
- climate change and forest carbon
- manufacturing capacity and fibre use
- wood products innovation
- reconciliation with Indigenous communities
- fibre and sustainability of timber and non-timber forest values
The discussion paper and more information on how to participate can be found here.
Local meetings will also be held in various communities where the public can speak to representatives of people, communities and organizations involved and affected by the forest sector, such as local and provincial elected officials and representatives, First Nations, key forest sector stakeholders, industry, contractors, professionals and labour representatives.
The first meeting took place today in Williams Lake, B.C. More meetings are scheduled in the B.C. Interior forestry communities throughout the summer and into the fall.
In the other Interior Forest Sector Renewal stream, the province and coalitions in each timber supply area, made up of industry, labour, First Nations and leaders in forest-dependent communities, are working together to develop a “new vision” for the Interior forest industry at the regional level. The coalitions have been tasked with recommending sustainable solutions to renew the Interior forest sector.
A What We Hear report on feedback received through this process will be released in late fall 2019. Policy direction based on this feedback is anticipated for spring 2020.