Monday, August 20, 2012

Will there be more for the next generation, of people in these communities, other than low and minimum pay tourism jobs?

For many living in northern BC … in particular the Burns Lake and Prince George areas, a story in today’s Province newspaper has to remind them of the vulnerability of living and working in small and rural BC communities.

I just returned, on the weekend, from an annual motorcycle trip I take each year with my brother.  Part of the trip took us along the northern coast of Washington State.  Sadly … I saw MANY sawmills in small communities that were shuttered and closed.

In some the equipment was totally removed; while some, long-neglected, remarkably still  had the equipment in them.

We've already seen many sawmills closed here in BC as well.

So the question becomes, “How can we keep jobs available for our small rural communities, and yet still ensure that we do not over harvest?”

Perhaps we have sadly become so efficient in our saw-milling processes that 'small town' BC is only going to be needed, to log the resources, to send them to an ever shrinking number of mega-sawmills.

Even then however, those logging jobs are ever shrinking through on-going mechanization that has been underway for decades.

Is there a balance to be found? … can we retain the jobs needed so that small northern, and interior, communities are able to survive and grown? … will there be more for the next generation, of people in these communities, other than low and minimum pay tourism jobs?

I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. 

Meantime, here’s the story that ran, as I mentioned, in today’s edition of the Province newspaper, “MLAs aren't facing the truth: B.C. forests are tapped out

I’m Alan Forseth in Kamloops … with the questions of one conservative. 

RESPONSE ... well I did ask for your thoughts and comments, and I did receive one from Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.  Here is what he had to say:

This article makes a number of assumptions that are plain and simply wrong. First, marginally economic stands: in Williams Lake, companies are operating in stands with volume as low as 85 cubic metres per hectare. In the Lakes TSA that number is 140. If we partition off volume between 100 and 140, the Lakes TSA can sustain an additional cut of 380,000 cubic metres annually.

Companies can do this in other areas so why not in the lakes? In addition, by partitioning this volume, companies would actually have to operate in this type of wood to gain the volume. They can't use it to leverage taking additional wood from better quality stands.

Second, fertilization is something we're already doing in BC. Other jurisdictions have been very successful with their programs and the committee's recommendations is to look at this and beef up a program in BC. Growing more fibre and capturing more value from it is the key to our forestry future.

Finally, many supply areas treat old growth management areas as NON-SPATIAL. In the Lakes TSA, they are defined spatially which is what creates the reduction in the supply. So if a spatial OGMA gets hit by a fire, pest or another issue, does it still have OLD GROWTH values?

These types of stands are now called DOGMAs or Dead OGMAs. Non-spatial OGMAs allow for the targets and goals of these areas to be met over a supply area rather than a specific spot. But keep in mind that the committee isn't recommending doing this. Rather, do a scientific review and then provide that information to the local LRMP group for their review and recommendation.

The committee's report tried to provide a sign-post towards a shift in forest management. This shift works towards higher levels of silviculture investments, growing more fibre and growing more value. It's the right direction to go which is also why it was unanimously supported.
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