The Columbia Shuswap Regional District took their May meeting on the road, convening at the Revelstoke Community Centre on May 18. The governing board of the local regional district usually meets at the organization’s headquarters in Salmon Arm.
One of the many items on their agenda was a delegation from the Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association.
Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors agreed to request that the provincial government place a priority on increasing the production of high value lumber products. Many of these products are produced by specialty lumber mills.
Loni Parker, CSRD Area B director, made a motion for the board to look at requesting the new B.C. premier include specific objectives around value added lumber products in the mandate letter to the Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources. Brian Simpson with the Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association will be forwarding a sample letter to the board.
“If the legislation doesn’t change, I don’t see a lot changing on the ground out there,” said Parker.
Simpson presented at the CSRD’s board meeting in Revelstoke on Thursday. He said asking for specific objectives is one way regional districts can show support for value added lumber products. He said the provincial government’s focus on value added lumber products needs to be renewed.
“What’s in the mandate letter becomes performance letter. We think this is one way of making sure the government becomes accountable,” said Simpson.
Simpson said currently ILMA members contribute approximately 4,500 direct and indirect jobs in multiple communities.
“These are well-paying living wage jobs across our catchment area. Over the last several years there has been increasing concerns with respect to getting access to the right fibre,” said Simpson. “We need to insist that government places a much higher priority on increasing the high value product production.”
Members of the ILMA are largely specialty mills that produce a wide range of value added products including plywood, flooring, and poles. Simpson said the reality is these value added businesses are not in direct competition with the large lumber facilities.
“So really, their business is not to complete directly with the large lumber facilities, but to take fiber products and move them farther along the value added chain,”said Simpson.