B.C. Premier John Horgan takes a tour of the Quesnel Forestry Innovation Centre and meets with Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson, along with community representatives to discuss issues related to the forestry industry on Monday, Jan. 20. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

B.C. Premier John Horgan takes a tour of the Quesnel Forestry Innovation Centre and meets with Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson, along with community representatives to discuss issues related to the forestry industry on Monday, Jan. 20. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

B.C. Premier calls Quesnel a ‘hub of innovation’ in face of forestry downturn

Premier John Horgan tours Forestry Innovation Centre and meets with mayor, community representatives

B.C. Premier John Horgan is visiting eight northern British Columbia communities to hear from community leaders how the province can build on its support for communities that have been affected by the downturn in the forestry sector, and he stopped in Quesnel Monday, Jan. 20.

Horgan highlighted Quesnel as being a community that has worked hard to meet the challenges that are associated with a declining forestry industry.

“Quesnel is a hub of innovation when it comes to forestry,” he said, following a tour of the new Forestry Innovation Centre at City Hall. “Of course [there are] significant challenges in the transition from the forestry of the past to the forestry of the future. [Quesnel Mayor Bob] Simpson and I have known each other for a long time; he works co-operatively with me on the challenges we see going forward. We had indigenous leaders here, we had other representatives of the from the regional district here, to talk not just about forestry but about how we can continue to grow the interior of British Columbia. It is the hub, it is the centre, and it was exciting to be here today.”

When asked what message he had for the residents of Quesnel who have been negatively impacted by the decline of the forestry industry in the region, Horgan said:

“That we are working together. Indigenous communities, Mayor Simpson and council, workers, the industries that have been here, whether it be West Fraser, the larger employer or the other forestry companies here, we are all working together to find a way forward, to add more value to our forest products rather than more volume. That’s the way we are going to have a vibrant industry going forward. We need to work on fire interface — we had a lucky year last year; there is no guarantee that next year is going to be any better than 2017 and 2018, so we need to prepare for that, and Quesnel has been a leader in that regard. That’s why I was so excited to talk to the innovation people here about how they’re managing the forest to protect communities and how they’re managing the forests to protect jobs going forward.”

READ MORE: Technical analysis of changing land base in Quesnel Timber Supply area begins

The premier said his meeting with Simpson and community leaders on Monday was not just to talk about issues related to the forestry industry.

“It was focusing on a whole range of issues — how do we diversify the economy, how do we work together to diversify the economy here in Quesnel and region, and that involves working with indigenous peoples, creating tourism opportunities,” he said. “I mean, this [Quesnel] was at the heart of the gold rush, this was the gateway to Barkerville. So as a provincial asset, Barkerville [is somewhere] we want to see more people coming through. Mayor Simpson and council want to see more people coming through Quesnel to get there. Changing the landscape of downtown Quesnel, using the waterfronts of the Quesnel and the Fraser [rivers] more effectively, these are things we can work on co-operatively. Mayor Simpson and council have a plan; the challenge is how do I go back to the minister of finance to find the resources to change the transportation logistics in and out of town so that they can take advantage of these natural assets, these two spectacular rivers that come together at this point.”

When asked about portions of the West Fraser Road which have been closed due to flood damage since April of 2018, causing a negative economic effect on Quesnel as well as a reduced quality of life for those who have been affected by the closure, Horgan was unable to offer any information regarding an update on timeline for completion of the road construction. The premier says the issue is one that he is aware of and that many communities across the province are facing.

“This is a challenge not just for that community, but for communities right across British Columbia,” he said. “As resource roads are no longer being used for resource development, those people that are living on those roads find themselves without contractors to make sure they can access their properties. This is a challenge not just here in the Quesnel area, but right across British Columbia, and [Transportation Minister Claire] Trevena is working hard on that.”

READ MORE: Quesnel school board will continue to lobby MOTI to rebuild West Fraser Road

While in Quesnel, Horgan also addressed the rise in civil disobedience surrounding the LNG pipeline project in northern B.C.

“We continue to work and to try to open up channels of communication,” he said. “That’s always the best way forward.”



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

forestryJohn HorganLNG

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

Just Posted

The Yunesit'in Government in partnership with the BC Wildfire Service will be conducting a prescribed burn seven kilometres west of the community and 25 kilometres south of Alexis Creek on the south side of the Chilcotin River. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Prescribed burning planned to reduce wildfire risk near Yunesit’in

Burning may begin as early as April 13 in partnership with BC Wildfire Service

An aerial view of the Williams Lake Stockyards taken during a flyover in 2020. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale in its 84th year

This year’s sale will be online and in person

B.C. Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon. (B.C. Cattlemen’s Association photo)
COVID, BSE, water access and private land rights: B.C. Cattlemen’s general manager weighs in

Kevin Boon said positive aspect of pandemic is more people interested in where their food comes from

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society communications officer Brianna van de Wijngaard reflects on World Water Day March 22. (Photo submitted)
DOWN TO EARTH: World Water Day means something different for everyone

This year’s World Water Day theme was Valuing Water

Williams Lake Cycling Club president Shawn Lewis (from left), Jeremy Stoward of New Path Forestry, WLCC Boitanio Bike Park director Andrew Hutchinson accept a cheque from Williams Lake and District Credit Union investment specialist Abigail King. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake Cycling Club gets bike park donation to bolster upgrades, maintenance

Plans are to complete three rideable lines each year, he added

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read