Photo Credit: BC Gov News

Investing in a New Bread and Butter for Forest Workers

It used to be old growth, now it' growth?

Forest workers can do great things in the forest without cutting it down

A renewable forest industry is within reach. But we’ve still got a long way to go.

For the moment, the shut down or delay of old growth logging operations has put a lot of people out of work.

This is a step in the right direction when it comes to creating long-term viability of our forest industry. But what about the folks who need a job right now?

Luckily, there’s actually a ton of forestry work that needs to be done that doesn’t involve old growth at all.

The Province has invested $1.87 million in 22 forestry projects in BC. But the projects focus on reducing our wildfire risk and improving our access to the outdoors. 

“Building more resilient communities while addressing the impacts of climate change is a key part of the StrongerBC economic plan,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.

“These projects help drive economic recovery in the region, bolster recreation and tourism opportunities, reduce wildfire risks and provide jobs for people.”

Most projects are short-term employment opportunities. That’s not as good as long-term jobs, but at least there’s a whole lot of them.

These jobs are targeted towards forestry contractors and workers who’ve been affected by mill closures, old-growth deferrals and other changes in the sector.

On VanIsle, the projects cover everything from building bridges to rehabilitating the McNair Lake Dam. They even make more trails accessible to folks in wheelchairs.

Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island, stated that “Forestry is so vital to our economy on the North Island and the livelihood of workers and their families.”

Absolutely vital. The great thing about these jobs is they do more than just benefit workers and companies.

“[It’s about] benefiting communities across the region through better infrastructure, safer roads and access to recreation sites.”

FEP has distributed $30 million, which has supported 317 projects and created more than 840 short-term jobs.

The forestry sector certainly is a key part of the fabric of North Island communities,” said Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development.