At the beginning of National Forest Week, Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb has been recognized by the Forests Products Association of Canada (FPAC) as the 2020 Forest Community Champion.
“Walt Cobb continues to be a tireless champion of British Columbia’s and Canada’s forestry sector,” said FPAC president and CEO Derek Nighbor in a news release.
“During a lifetime of service as an MLA, councillor and mayor, he has been an ongoing and staunch advocate for the industry and workers in his community.”
Nighbor said Cobb’s leadership qualities made national news during the wildfires of 2017 that forced the evacuation of his entire community and he continues to be a resource for other municipal leaders who face wildland fire risks in their communities.
“Walt has earned every bit of this recognition.”
Tolko Industries Ltd. in Williams Lake nominated Cobb for the award.
“We are proud to have nominated Mayor Cobb for this award for his decades of leadership as a councillor, MLA, and mayor in helping Williams Lake remain a strong and sustainable forest community,” said Kevin Sytsma, woodlands manager, Tolko Industries.
Surprised by the nomination, Cobb said he was even more surprised to receive the award.
“As mayor of Williams Lake, as resource-based community, forestry is our number one industry and we are dedicated to not only supporting the sector, but also the many workers it employs,” said Cobb.
Cobb said one of his highlights of his ongoing fight to bring attention to the importance of the forest industry in the Cariboo was during the 2019 Union of BC Municipalities Convention when a convoy of 400 logging trucks rallied through downtown Vancouver.
“I was hanging on to the side of a truck for a part of the ride downtown – we definitely showed strength in numbers and opened up more discussions about how essential forestry is to the interior. I am proud that my involvement has had a positive impact on the forestry industry in Williams Lake.”
FPAC presents its Awards of Excellence to recognize leadership in the sector and to honour the achievements of our workers and community partners. The Forest Community Champion award is presented to a leader who demonstrates support for the forestry sector and its contributions to Canada’s environmental, economic, and social priorities.
With files from FPAC