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Letter: Supports fall short for forestry workers impacted by old-growth deferrals

Truck Loggers Association of BC calls for collective vision for forestry and old growth

I feel the need to response to a column appearing on the Eagle Valley News website on Nov. 22 (Ancient cedar stands at risk in Shuswap’s own Fairy Creek).

It may surprise some to hear this, but we share the belief that critical, at-risk old growth should be protected.

We recognize that British Columbians are passionate about protecting at-risk old growth and we share that passion, but we also believe there were viable options to find a balance that most people in our province could support.

For a number of months, the Truck Loggers Association of B.C. has called for a collective vision for forestry and on the issue of old growth – that would ensure the livelihood of B.C. forest workers and resource communities while also addressing society’s expectations of BC’s forest-management. We asked for meaningful collaboration among all key stakeholders, including First Nations, community groups, licensees and non-government organizations – so decision-making would be informed with a true understanding of the issues and the consequences, to find a solution that works for everyone.

That’s why we were so disheartened to see the government’s announcement on old-growth deferrals that government estimates will result in 4,500 lost jobs but will likely be far higher – each of those representing a family that will be forever impacted.

While the writer suggests any worker with re-training could easily find a new job, the fact is, at this stage, government has only referenced some potential support programs that fall very short of the requirements to support people and communities. It is incomprehensible that a parallel socio-economic analysis to quantify the impact to people, families, communities and the sector had not been done prior to this decision.

The time for real collaboration is well past due, but there are still many options to potentially achieve success that works for all concerned. To not explore and work with those in forestry will inevitably lead to failed policies and consequential impacts to communities and people the government purports to support.

Read more: Column: Ancient cedar stands at risk in Shuswap’s own Fairy Creek

Read more: B.C. government deferral on harvest of old-growth includes stands throughout Shuswap

Bob Brash

Executive Director,

Truck Loggers Association of BC

forestry