Tolko Industry’s Kelowna mill announced Sept. 12 that it would not be reopening its doors, as planned on Sept. 15. (Black Press file photo)

Cooperative approach urged to resolve B.C.’s forest crisis

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce calling on elected officials to set aside differences and find solutions

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is calling for B.C.’s elected officials to set aside their differences and collectively find solutions that support the forest sector and communities.

The Chamber has written to Premier John Horgan, official opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

“Mill operations are either being shut down or curtailed, impacting thousands of workers and their families as well as those associated with private contractors and suppliers. Given the uncertainty, these individuals are less likely to make major purchases such as vehicles or homes, or to visit their favourite restaurant as often. That directly affects small businesses that are the very lifeblood of communities like Vernon,” said Krystin Kempton, Chamber president, in the letter.

READ MORE: 127 workers out of job after Kelowna Tolko mill shuts down ‘indeterminately’

“The Chamber understands that complex factors fuel the current situation, including fibre supply and global competition. However, those complexities should not stand in the way of finding solutions that assist companies, workers and communities over the short and long-term.”

Specifically, a broad-based, collaborative approach could review the current stumpage price in B.C. as well as the process used to determine them, according to the chamber. It also says it is important to look at other factors impacting business, including the Employer Health Tax.

“What we are requesting is that the interests of British Columbians be the priority, even if that means setting aside differences. Now is the time for a broad-based approach to resolving the current crisis and establishing a sustainable forest sector for years to come,” said Kempton.

“We would urge your respective parties to join together with representatives from forest companies, contractors, labour, business organizations, First Nations and communities to develop a made-in-B.C. strategy. British Columbia’s greatest resource is its people. We are innovative, risk-takers and resilient. History has shown that we can overcome great odds when we are shoulder-to­ shoulder. More unites us than divides us, and our Chamber is ready to cooperate with all stakeholders, and particularly your respective parties, to meet this current challenge head-on.”

READ MORE: Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Summerland man rescued following ATV accident

Helicopters used to transport injured man to Kelowna for treatment

South Okanagan playgrounds now open

Once caution tape is removed, playgrounds are officially open for public use

Evacuation order and alerts issued for properties in Cawston area

Flooding in region results in State of Local Emergency

Rain in Sunday forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada calling for 15-20 millimetres in regions

Arena served Summerland for 26 years

Warm winters meant short ice seasons in early 1950s

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

High water levels on Shuswap Lake may close popular Canoe Beach

Rain forecast could flood entrance tunnel, city staff to evaluate

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

Mother bear and two cubs spotted in West Kelowna

Residents of Shannon Lake are urged to be on the look out for three bears in the area

Social justice advocate yells at Kelowna council, demands presence at Black Lives Matter rally

Heather Friesen has again taken to council chambers to make her opinion heard

Youth filmmakers tackle technology addiction, relationships, cyber-bullying

The Kelowna couple won a grant from Telus STORYHIVE

Significant flooding not expected in Summerland

Okanagan Lake now slightly higher than full pool level

Vernon videographer captures thunderstorm

See the ‘best bits’ of Saturday’s storm

Most Read