Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA assigned to mid-term timber supply committee

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett says she's pleased she's been assigned to the special committee to examine the mid-term timber supply.

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett says she’s pleased she’s been assigned to the special committee to examine the mid-term timber supply.

“I was the vice-chair and became the chair of Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and was with the coalition from day one. I understand the issue, I have lots of background and I have also worked with all the other coalitions over the past many years.”

She says the work on the coalitions has given her a deep understanding, and she has seen many timber supplies. She adds the declining numbers are not something new.

“We knew this was coming. The numbers have been there for a few years. It’s time to go back to the communities, to give them an update and hear their concerns over forestry issues and ask for their input on how we can improve forestry on the landscape,” Barnett says.

“Is there a possibility we can increase the timber supply or do things differently? We’re out there to listen, we have a mandate, terms of reference, and we will be out there meeting with every stakeholder we possibly can over the summer.”

The newly-formed committee met this morning for the first time and chose John Rustad, MLA Nechako Lakes as the chair and Norm Macdonald, MLA Columbia River-Revelstoke as vice-chair.

Next the committee will meet two or three times to put together a work plan, schedule, and a website to let the public know what the committee is doing.

While she’s not a forester, Barnett says she’s had 40 years of experience living in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and knows people from all facets of the forests — from foresters loggers to trappers, hunters, ranchers, guiders and tourism operators.

“There’s so much out there that you have to understand and respect,” she says, admitting while it will be a daunting task, she’s ready for it.

More details to come.