A pile of Lumber

Meaningful dialogue must precede sweeping BC Government announcements, says Chamber Executive Director 

The Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce is protesting the provincial government’s handling of a proposed deferral of 2.6 million hectares of old growth forest. 

“The BC Government needs to sit down at a table with the First Nations, industry, labour and representatives from all the communities and have meaningful dialogue before they implement these deferrals. If they don’t, it is going to have devastating impacts on all of our communities,” said Executive Director Mary Ruth Snyder. 

Photo courtesy the Wilderness Committee

She was citing a BC Council of Forest Industries press release, that states: 

“These deferrals would result in the closure of between 14 and 20 sawmills in BC, along with two pulp mills and an undetermined number of value-added manufacturing facilities. This represents approximately 18,000 good, family-supporting jobs lost, along with over $400 million in lost revenues to government each year – revenues that help pay for healthcare, education and other services British Columbians count on.”

Snyder says the timing of the government announcement could not be worse. It has been only two years since the forest industry was in the midst of a devastating strike and the COVID 19 virus arrived almost immediately after that. 

“We are still trying to recover from the strike; we are still trying to recover from the effects of the pandemic on small and medium businesses across this province,” she said.

The Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce represents businesses within the entire Strathcona Regional District, which includes Cortes and the other Discovery Islands – map courtesy the SRD. Note: There is also a Discovery Island Chamber of Commerce (based on Quadra Island), Gold River Chamber of Commerce, and Tahsis Chamber of Commerce. On Cortes Island, for example, some businesses belong to the Discovery Island Chamber, others to the Campbell River and District Chamber and there is also a Cortes Community Economic Development Association.

Snyder says the NDP announcement does not reflect any of their previously stated intentions of discussing, planning and negotiating complex issues like this with all the interested parties.

“It is very, very, disappointing,” she said. “There has to be conversation and dialogue before they can make any sweeping statements like they’ve made.”  

Top photo credit: Lumber by Mike Mozart via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

Sign-up for Cortes Currents email-out:

To receive an emailed catalogue of articles on Cortes Currents, send a (blank) email to subscribe to your desired frequency: