The B.C. Federation of Labour will host a town hall meeting in Nanaimo to address B.C.’s ailing forest industry and search for solutions that could revive it.
Communities that depend on the forest industry have been hit hard by economic downturns, pine beetle infestation, market competition, raw log exports and offshore log processing and other factors that have contributed to an industry-wide steady decline in employment and profitability.
“We have an industry that is in decline and there doesn’t seem to be any effort to find answers to revitalize it,” said Jim Britton, Communcations, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada western region vice-president.
“What we’re trying to do now is go around the province and talk to communities that may be affected by the forest industry and try to engage those into trying to help us find answers.”
Town hall meetings have already been held in Kelowna, Kamloops, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Mackenzie and Prince George.
Britton said anyone is welcome to attend for an opportunity to hear from local and provincial forestry experts. Participants will also be engaged in dialogue about how to work together to draw attention to the crisis and find solutions for change.
“There has to be some people in the room, from those who represent workers, industry and people politically who may have some will and an avenue to make change that we don’t,” Britton said. “So I think the first thing to do is put those people in a room.”
Britton said, as part of the revitalization process, there also needs to be investment in research and development to find more products than paper and lumber to bring to market.
“It’s just not information going out,” Britton said. “We’re hoping to get some back.”
Nanaimo’s meeting will be held at the Coast Bastion Inn Wednesday (March 6) at 6 p.m.
For more information, please visit the B.C. Federation of Labour website at http://act.bcfed.ca/forestsforbc/.