I read MLA Donna Barnett’s remarks regarding how Premier Horgan disappointed the forest industry in the April 10 edition of the Tribune. I’m not sure what Ms. Barnett expected: she stated herself that the forest section of our economy is facing “serious and devastating consequences.” Production costs rising, lumber prices falling, jobs are being lost due to lack of supply due to wildfires and beetle epidemic. All this is putting more pressure on a dwindling resource. Well I believe that pretty much said it all, unless Ms. Barnett knows of some virgin timber somewhere that the forest industry can access and harvest. To expect Horgan to know this seems unreasonable. The people who know are the logging companies, timber scalers, and local people.
I believe it is time the industry came to grips with reality. The only thing Ms. Barnett didn’t mention was climate change, which when added to the mix does not present an inviting opportunity. It is a fact that 50 per cent of the logs stored at Tolko and West Fraser are from the Horsefly Fisheries Sensitive Watershed, and probably should not have been harvested at all. The Horsefly sockeye are already an endangered species and our chinook and coho are a threatened species, similar to the caribou population.
I believe it is time we as a people took responsibility for our own future and come up with some different options for providing employment for our own area: chicken farms, egg production and sales, turkey farms, industry such as solar panel production — there so many options to look at. When I broke my back in 1981 I still had four kids at home and had to face a drastic change of lifestyle, which I did.
Cattle ranching and agriculture have long been avenues pursued by residents of the Cariboo. In the late 1800s people grew grain, milled flour, sold bread, others raised pork; at one time folks were pretty self sufficient. Farming is a real option to create a living for a group of people. There will certainly be funding for trades to learn new skills. We all have to face hard times once in a while; this could very well be one of those times. I would not have been able to have the life I have had if I expected someone else to come up with answers for me. Ms. Barnett is in the unique position of being able to access any kind of information she needs to try to come up with some ideas to help her constituents other than to throw abuse at her fellow politicians.