Beetle funding totals $9M

This past Thursday and Friday, I had a chance to make an important and significant announcement in Kamloops, Prince George and right here in Williams Lake, in my role as the parliamentary secretary for regional economic development.

This past Thursday and Friday, I had a chance to make an important and significant announcement in Kamloops, Prince George and right here in Williams Lake, in my role as the parliamentary secretary for regional economic development.

I had the privilege of announcing three separate $3-million contributions to these communities, to help in the fight against the mountain pine beetle.

In all three areas of the province I visited, pine beetle action coalitions have been established and are working hard to combat the burden these pests have put on our northern forests.

These coalitions have taken advantage of the inconvenient situation we’ve found ourselves in through innovation and are working hard towards making the best of it.

New bio-energy plants — like the one at the University of Northern British Columbia — are now examples of how B.C. is leading North America in this field.

New research discovered each day is finding ways to convert the old trees killed by the pine beetle into jobs for people in northern communities.

With these bio-energy projects brings local service, supply, investment and manufacturing opportunities.

All of these help neutralize the negative effects of the pine beetle and support northern families by keeping our regional economies strong.

Moving forward, these pine beetle coalitions, along with help from the B.C. government, must find a way to rid our northern forests of this infestation while continuing along a path of innovation when it comes to our resource industries and putting wood byproducts to positive and economical use.

If we can continue down this path, the future of Williams Lake and northern British Columbia looks bright.

For more information on the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition visit: www.c-cbac.com.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.