Forestry still our future

Column from Mayor Kerry Cook touches on the past weekend's festivities and the upcoming timber-supply meeting.

What a weekend!

I hope everyone enjoyed the Stampede this year as much as I did. Certainly more people enjoyed it — the Stampede broke its attendance record. More than 16,000 people took in the rodeo! Congratulations to the Stampede Association and volunteers.

And congratulations to the Daybreak Rotary for the parade Saturday. It was one of the best ever! Canada Day celebrations Sunday were also great. Thanks to the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society, sponsors Save On Foods and Concrete Fitness. I had the honour to welcome Premier Christy Clark to Williams Lake and the Stampede, and we, with MP Dick Harris, presented the Queen’s Jubilee medals to three outstanding citizens and Stampede volunteers: Fred Thomas, Willie Crosina, and Claudia Blair. The honour is well-deserved. Three more medals will be presented to city residents in the coming months. The amazing Kids Running for Kids had a special guest in Carey Price on Saturday. What a fantastic way to kick off their journey. They’ve already exceeded their original goal of raising $25,000 for B.C Children’s Hospital, and are now shooting for $100,000!

I am presenting the city’s statement to the Legislative Special Committee on Mid-Timber Supply today. Forestry has been, and will continue to be, vital to our region, and despite the naysayers, it’s important to remember that forestry will be here next year. The city supports the development of a mitigation strategy and plan that addresses the forecasted mid-term timber supply. It must be done in such a way that it will not adversely affect First Nations or forest users in areas such as mining, ranching, tourism and recreation, and we need to ensure that nothing we do today jeopardizes the future of our children. Finally, the process to develop a mitigation strategy and plan must be open and transparent, it must be done quickly, and the information must be accurate and factual.  Forests are a publicly owned resource, so the public and stakeholders have a right to know what’s going on and to have input. We must make sure those kinds of decisions are based on facts and not rumours, speculation or myths. We all want a sustainable future in forestry.

Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.