Standing Up for Forestry
Prince George, B.C.- The Stand Up for the North Committee has organized a series of meetings to bring forestry issues to the fore.
Meetings have been set for Prince George, Mackenzie, Quesnel and Williams Lake in mid March Spokesperson Peter Ewart says the context of the meetings has more to do with the Softwood Lumber Agreement and the pending decision on what the Annual Allowable Cut will be “That was the main context, at the same time, forestry should be a front and centre discussion during the Provincial Election in our opinion, but the context of the annual allowable cut and the softwood lumber agreement are really important reasons for why we wanted to have this.”
Ewart says it is time for new arrangements with the Province that would see forest based communities getting a share of the revenues from the forestry sector. Such an agreement could be similar to the Peace River Agreement which will provide communities in the Peace Region more than $1.1 billion dollars over 20 years as a form of grants in lieu of taxes the region is not able to collect from the industrial tax base. ” That ( the Peace agreement) is one model” says Ewart “I think what we’re talking about would be more expensive than that, that whole question has come up again and again. I know in the northeast, communities are calling for more diversification and more control of where they’re going instead of being at the back end of things in terms of the decisions affecting them.”
Ewart says the meetings should appeal to more than those who are directly involved in the forestry sector “We have whole communities that are dependent on forestry and other businesses, sectors of population that are affected by what happens with forestry. So we want to have a broad based discussion. Part of the mission for Stand up for the North is to empower the people and the communities of the region so that they have more say and more control over what happens with forestry and other natural resources. That’s really the fundamental thing for us, the way things are right now, the forest based communities and the people who live there, have little say , little control over what happens.”
He says it’s all about facilitating change “What Stand Up for the North is talking about is a new way of doing things” says Ewart “so that major decisions are not made in Victoria and Ottawa, but that people are more involved in the decision making at the local level and community level.”
All of the meetings will start at 7 pm, and have been scheduled for the following dates and locations:
Prince George – March 13th at CNC ( room 1-306)
Mackenzie – March 14th – Mackenzie Recreation Centre
Quesnel – March 15th – Arts and recreation Centre – 500 N.Star Road
Williams Lake – March 16th – Central Cariboo Arts and Cultural Centre, 90-4th Avenue N.