Editor, The Times:
I want to assure residents of the Clearwater area that I am following closely the ongoing issue of future forestry activity in the Clearwater Valley.
I have visited the area to hear presentations, I have been briefed by staff from the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations, I have discussed the issue personally with the Minister, and I have discussed the issue with Canfor.
Public process is very important when activity on the land base is considered. The 1999 public process was extensive with many residents taking part. The Guiding Principles from that process are as important today as they were then. Although the west side of the valley was not included in this document, any activity undertaken by BC Timber Sales should involve adequate public consultation and I have made Minister Thomson aware of concerns in this area.
I note that Canfor has committed to a public open house before any activity takes place and wants to hear from you. As your representative, I advocated strongly with former Minister Pat Bell and Canfor to re-open the Vavenby mill, which is a very important economic driver in the region.
As Environment Minister I was able to secure investments in Wells Gray Park along with the renovation of the Tourism Information Centre and increase the signage to promote the park.
I understand the need for a balance between environmental, social and economic values to keep a community strong.
I will continue to follow the issue closely.
Terry Lake, DVM
MLA Kamloops North Thompson
Minister of Health