Members of the newly-formed rural advisory council were named by the Minister of Forests Steve Thomson and MLA Donna Barnett Wednesday.
The 14 members come from different areas of the province, including Tolko’s Woodland’s manager Tom Hoffman who will represent the Cariboo region.
Of the 87 people nominated for the council, 11 were from the Cariboo.
Barnett, who will co-chair the council, said choosing the members was a tough decision.
“Quite a few of us sat down in government and looked into diversity, and people in some regions that had an affiliation with the mountain pine beetle coalitions.”
The rural advisory council has emerged out of the work of the pine beetle coalitions, Barnett said.
“Tom Hoffman is a Registered Professional Forester and a board member of Community Futures Cariboo-Chilcotin and the Northern Development Initiative Trust,” Barnett said. “He’s also an alternate with the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Committee.”
The closest community to Williams Lake represented on the council is Cache Creek, with member Debra Arnot, who is the general manager of Community Futures Sun Country and for the past nine years, has co-owned and operated a logging company with her husband.
“There are promising economic opportunities on the horizon for B.C. and we want to ensure that small and rural communities share fully in the benefits,” Thomson said in a press release.
Barnett said she is hopeful the council will advise government on initiatives and policies that will make rural B.C. a better and easier place to live.
“We’ll be looking at ways to generate economics. In many of our little communities, because of the pine beetle we have lost a lot of jobs.”
The council will also look at new initiatives to bring forward to government.
Barnett said for rural B.C. the council probably has the biggest scope of any group advising government.
The first meeting of the council is scheduled to take place in Victoria, March 26 at the legislature and on the 27 at one of the government agency’s buildings.
“It’s very exciting,” Barnett said. “I haven’t met most of these people in person. I have had discussions with them on the phone, but that’s about it.”