Premier John Horgan visits West Fraser sawmill in Quesnel on tour of B.C. Interior communities, Jan. 20, 2020. (B.C. government)

John Horgan calls for end to ‘high-grading’ B.C. forests

Premier speaks to resource industry forum in Prince George

Premier John Horgan promoted his long-term strategy for the struggling B.C. forest industry in Prince George Wednesday, saying the province has to get out of a “boom and bust economy” that rises and falls with lumber prices.

Speaking to more than 1,000 community and industry leaders at the annual B.C. Natural Resources Forum Prince George, Horgan noted his long-term strategy to increase forest jobs began this week with the first of a series of round-table meetings with community and industry representatives in Mackenzie, one of the communities hardest hit by the current downturn.

“We’re going to be in other communities, Quesnel, Vanderhoof, wherever we can go to bring people together to find a way forward in forestry,” Horgan told reporters before his speech to the forum. “Prices are starting to come up. In a boom-and-bust economy, you need to have high prices, but that’s not the beginning and the end. We need to make sure that we’re always preparing for those down times by ensuring that we’re not just harvesting to get the forest down, we’re harvesting to get jobs in communities.”

Horgan acknowledged that government stumpage on Crown timber did not keep up with the rapid fall in lumber prices in 2019, but it has been sharply reduced for 2020. He said he is attempting to move away from a long tradition of logging for volume.

RELATED: Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

RELATED: B.C. delays new wood waste penalties in coastal crisis

“It’s about a value in the British Columbia forest sector that was cultivated by Social Credit, by New Democrats, by Liberals, and that was to just harvest as much volume as you can, when you can,” Horgan said. “If we’re high-grading our forests to catch the market, that may be good for the short term, but the long-term view for the forest industry needs to be a long-term view. And that involves communities.”

The meetings were announced last spring as Horgan and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson were faced with a wave of sawmill shutdowns across the B.C. Interior, due to slumping prices, log costs and continued steep tariffs imposed by the U.S. government on Canadian softwood imports.

In December, Donaldson announced that new coastal log export fees were delayed for six months, and a program to reduce wood behind in coastal logging was also eased to reflect cost data from the industry on recovering more wood.

Logging has shut down across much of the B.C. coast and Vancouver Island, due to costs and a seven-month strike by the United Steelworkers against Western Forest Products.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureforestry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Construction of Douglas College's Surrey Campus in 1970. (Photo: Douglas College Archives)
PHOTOS: Douglas College’s Surrey roots at a B.C.-first campus in 1970

The official date of the Douglas/Kwantlen split was April 1, 1981

B.C.’s parliament building, Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
ZYTARUK: Votes come at a premium price. Time to pay the tab

Promises are rained upon the voting public much like confetti being blasted from the maw of a cannon, or particles of ash spewn from an erupting volcano

Loretta Hibbs (right), founder and president of Surrey-based City Dream Centre, with Kelly Voros (foreground), the organization's executive administrator. (submitted photo)
‘Pumpkin patch’ brought to Surrey inner-city schools where COVID cancelled field trips

Work done by volunteers with Surrey-based City Dream Centre

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and staff by parents must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Most Read