VANCOUVER, May 17 /CNW/ - A new report prepared by the B.C. Government
and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU), with contributions from residents
of forest-dependent communities, finds B.C. forests are in crisis due
to a decade of government deregulation and disinvestment, including
deep cuts to the BC Forest Service.
Input for the report, B.C. Forests In Crisis: A Community Call for Reform, was collected at a series of community dialogues conducted by the
BCGEU earlier this year in Castlegar, Campbell River, Kamloops and
The community dialogues gave the BCGEU the chance to engage with
community leaders to get a grasp of the key issues and problems facing
forest-dependent communities, and hear possible solutions.
"Participants at our community dialogues sounded the alarm bells about
forest management. They told us they're finding it hard to reconcile
the government's sunny forest industry rhetoric with their experiences
as they live with government neglect of the forest sector," said BCGEU
President Darryl Walker.
The same themes were raised at each of the four community dialogues.
"We heard similar remarks over and over again: B.C.'s forest communities
are struggling and residents believe the government isn't listening to
them. Participants also told us the government has failed to manage the
forests in the best interests of the public. They also want forest
management overhauled," said Walker.
"In every community we visited, participants welcomed the chance to come
together to discuss the issues in B.C.'s forests," said Walker.
"Leaders in the forest communities made it clear they're committed to
finding ways to bring about positive change for both forests and their
communities. We urge the government to implement our recommendations."
STRENGTHEN PUBLIC OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Establish a public commission of inquiry to provide an independent
assessment of B.C.'s forest sector and the effectiveness of our current
laws and practices.
RECOMMIT TO GOOD FOREST STEWARDSHIP
Restore staff and funding to B.C.'s Forest Service, and provide enhanced
funding for key programs including compliance and enforcement, forest
inventory, research, and reforestation.
RECONNECT COMMUNITIES WITH THEIR FORESTS
Review and reform B.C.'s forest tenure system to provide more local
participation in managing local forestlands and ensure communities
benefit from local resources.
TAKE REAL ACTION TO GENERATE MORE VALUE FROM B.C.'S FORESTS
Implement strategies to support greater diversification and more
value-added enterprises in B.C.'s forest sector, including tightening
restrictions on raw log exports.
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SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
or to arrange an interview on May 17, please contact Karen Tankard, BCGEU Communications Department at 604-312-1204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download the full report at: www.bcgeu.ca/forestry_report