Moving to a new BC wood manufacturing sector will not be quick or easy! As outlined in Building a diversified mfg sector-challenges_1, there are challenges to overcome in this transition. It will be a journey, not an event requiring:
- Politicians thinking strategically beyond a one-term election period or political ideology,
- Politicians adopting a business environment that addresses the needs of investors, profitability of companies and acknowledging current and future markets,
- Companies committing support for a secondary wood manufacturing sector, and
- Communities being realistic and supporting local investments in secondary wood manufacturing.
The “perfect storm” in the forest sector is creating uncertainty and stress within the industry, communities and investors. Government needs to take action to reduce this and provide leadership in moving toward community resiliency. Bill Bourgeois provides an opinion on how this can be done through improving the forest sector regulatory infrastructure in Addressing uncertainty and stress
The Forest Amendment Act-Bill 22 has created industry and community uncertainty and lacks reference to a BC wood manufacturing sector vision. Bill Bourgeois provides comments and suggested actions in Bill 22 – comments.
Clearwater Mayor speaks out why Metro Vancouver residents should be concerned about mill closures in forest-dependent communities https://vancouversun.com/…/merlin-blackwell-metro-vancouver…
Government’s Forest Sector Revitalization initiative has generated a great deal of consultation, uncertainty and stress within the industry, investors, suppliers, communities and Government itself. It is fragmented without a vision for the wood manufacturing sector. Government has taken the approach “we are in a transition from the current forest sector to a new forest sector and it will take time to evolve.” The lack of a vision and counting on broad consultations to provide the leadership is problematic. Bill Bourgeois provides his comments and suggested actions to achieve a sustainable wood manufacturing sector that contributes toward achieving community resiliency in a New manufacturing sector-Action plan
Bill Bourgeois provides his opinion on recent forest Job loss and impact on families and recommends an action model to move toward minimizing future forest sector losses through community diversification.
Minister Donaldson identified Government’s vision for the forest sector in the Spring 2019 issue of the Truck Logger magazine. It is “a forest sector made up of successful and innovative large and small companies that can create and maintain good jobs and generate wealth from our forests to support healthy communities.” There has not been much elaboration on the type of companies. Let’s hope this includes diversification so not all companies are producing traditional commodity or solid wood products. The indication is this could be part of the Minister’s vision. However, it is critical for him to send this message to the forest sector and Ministry staff as not much has been done in this regard over the last couple of years. Maybe the recent re-organization transferring the staff with this file to the Chief Forester’s office will produce positive results.
To provide resiliency to communities we need companies that can bridge the traditional economic cycle of solid wood products mainly destined for housing. Government needs to create an environment to encourage investment in other wood products such as bio-fuels and bio-chemicals. This will require long-term access to fibre. Hopefully the Coast and Interior Forest Sector Revitalization initiatives will include achieving this critical diversification.
The NS forest sector has “…been planning the change for several months” prior to the announcement of the closure of their pulp mill https://tinyurl.com/ybjxamle The plan is for actions innovative to the normal Sector way of operating. These are consistent with many proposed actions within BC. BC is being confronted with a timber supply shortage. Are there lessons to be learned from NS?
John Innes, Dean, Faculty of Forestry, UBC, says the BC forest sector “is facing a crisis” and “a clear, insightful and long-term plan needs to be developed” by the BC Government. The call to action in dealing with the crisis is not new. It was identified in the Healthy Forest-Healthy Communities dialogue of 2011-2012 (https://www.bcforestconversation.com/restoring-bcs-forest-legacy/). Government did nothing from this point until 2017. Is Government doing enough now to deal with the situation which has become more critical?
Building Community Resiliency
A Letter to Minister Donaldson re community diversification was sent identifying the opportunity to utilize logging residue rather than burn it. At the same time increasing community economic development and diversification and reducing GHG emissions.