Williams Lake is one of the stops for set community meetings tackling the Softwood Lumber Agreement, trade and the future of forestry in the province.
“We are having meetings in five communities — Prince George, Mackenzie, Quesnel, Williams Lake and Fort St. James,” said Peter Ewart, Stand Up For the North co-ordinator of the meetings. “We are very interested in fostering discussion about workers in communities having more say over what is happening with forestry in B.C. in regards to mill closures, mill-forest oversight, runaway forest companies, raw log exports and a whole number of issues.”
Ewart criticized the provincial government’s removal of appertancy, which required companies to process the logs in the community where there were harvested.
“Taking it away you are leaving forestry-based communities dangling in the wind,” he said.
A number of communities in the Interior and the North are facing difficult times with the Allowable Annual Cut reductions, Ewart noted, adding it is hoped through the meetings participants can discuss different ways to see that production stays in the communities, that there is more diversification and perhaps a new kind of appertancy.
“We want to develop discussion right in the heart of the communities that are impacted,” Ewart said.
Ewart will be joined by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives keynote speaker Ben Parfitt as well as Indigenous representatives and forestry union representatives.
The meeting will take place in the lakecity on Thursday, March 16, at the Central Cariboo Arts and Cultural Centre from 7 to 9 p.m. and is being organized locally by the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society; Council of Canadians; USW 1-425.