Editor, The Times:
I definitely object to allowing Canfor to sell off our forests to be manufactured elsewhere.
The main reason that we are logging in this valley was to create employment and to stabilize communities. The Clearwater-Vavenby Valley, with the community-sponsored Tre Farm License, (TFL-18) and with other nearby tenures was planned to be a sustained yield supply of wood that has been successfully operating for more than 80 years and if managed properly should continue for another 80 years more.
With the recent big bug kill and fires, there has been a surplus of salvage wood that had to be taken, but the mistake here was that Canfor (and most other mills) continued to cut their full quota of green timber resulting in flooding the market with lumber, and depleting the standing trees way too fast.
Canfor bought the right to harvest timber from Slocan Forest Products. Canfor only bought the right to harvest, they did not buy the trees. If Canfor closes down their mill at Vavenby then they lose the right to the timber. The timber and the mill must be sold together and all the timber must be manufactured here or not at all.
Our Premier John Horgan, on Sept. 17, said, “While the forest sector must reduce surplus milling capacity to remain competitive, it cannot do so at the expense of the workers, contractors and the communities that built the industry.”
So who is taking the brunt of this Canfor closure if not the employees, contractors and the community? We must not allow Canfor to sell off the timber, close down the mill and run with a pocket full of cash. They can only sell the timber and mill together, and the trees must be milled here.
With the strength of Bill 22, the government has the right to stop any transfer of timber licenses that they see fit. If the sale is blocked the only way that Canfor can retain their value in the tenure is to resume operation or sell the whole operation, mill and timber together, and we must insist that the logs must continue to be manufactured here.
I really hope to see Canfor scale down and re-fit their mill to suit the volume of timber that can be harvested here on a sustained basis, and then resume operations. Even though there would be fewer employees and contractors working, it would be the best thing for the stability of the valley and the communities affected.
Lifetime resident and retired forest worker