Susan Yurkovich, President and CEO of the BC Council of Forest Industries, says the British Columbia Government’s apparent intention to defer 2.6 million hectares of old-growth across British Columbia will have a “profound and devastating impact on people, families and communities across the province,” and possibly result in the closure of between 14 and 20 sawmills in BC, along with two pulp mills and an undetermined number of value-added manufacturing facilities.
“This represents approximately 18,000 good, family-supporting jobs lost, along with over $400 million in lost revenues to government each year—revenues that help pay for health care, education and other services British Columbians count on,” Yurkovich says.
She also notes that the government’s plan is based on recommendations received from a panel of advisors appointed earlier this year, four of five with ties to environmental organizations including the Sierra Club and West Coast Environmental Law.
“It’s particularly troubling that these deferrals come on the heels of a pandemic that has challenged us all and where the forest industry has been a bright light,” Yurkovich says. “We kept people working safely and continued to deliver more than $4 billion in revenues to government over the last year which has helped put our province in a financial position better than most. Now the key industry that has and can continue to contribute to our resilience is being devastated.”
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