Local voices can have their say tonight over provincial forestry practices.
The BC Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) is hosting a town hall meeting to "discuss and find solutions to the ongoing crisis in B.C. forests," said union president Darryl Walker.
According to Walker, The forestry industry in and around Prince George has been hard hit over the last decade by job losses, raw log exports, and the mountain pine beetle devastation. Over the last decade, viable mills were shut down while raw log exports grew dramatically.
Of greatest concern to the union, Walker added, was the ripple effects across mainstream communities when the forest industry suffers.
"British Columbians deserve to know their forests are being managed sustainably and in the public interest - maintaining forest-sector jobs, while preserving ecosystems," he said. "But years of government staffing cuts, lack of inventory work and mismanagement have contributed to a real state of crisis in our forests. We need to work together to demand that government invest in research, reforestation, and compliance and enforcement to ensure healthy forests today, and in the future.
Walker pointed out that the meeting was election-based in its timing. He made no mention of any positive developments or successes within the industry, but promised the meeting would include provincial and local forestry experts.
Also included in the meeting's organization are the BC Federation of Labour, United Steelworkers, CEP, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Walker is scheduled to be in Prince George for this event, set for 6 p.m. in the Nechako Room at the Coast Inn of the North.