We’ve seen fantastic news coming out of the forest industry lately with 2010 exports of up by 20 per cent over 2009. This is a direct result to our government’s focus on establishing British Columbia as North America’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and the numerous trade missions to establish those active markets. But there is more to do right here at home. In March 2008, the Working Roundtable on Forestry was formed including 19 members from around the province, bringing a variety of experience in the industry with the task of identifying issues, opportunities and recommendations to ensure a strong, vibrant, sustainable forest industry in British Columbia. They held meetings in 19 communities around the province and considered more than 250 submissions from communities and local residents, First Nations, forest companies and associations, organized labour and environmental groups.
The following year, the Working Roundtable on Forestry released its report that included a number of priorities and recommendations directed at all forest sector stakeholders to achieve “a vibrant, sustainable, globally competitive forest industry that provides enormous benefits for current and future generations and for strong communities.”
So far, there has been tremendous success in implementing these recommendations. Twenty-seven local governments have adopted Wood First resolutions, bylaws or policies requiring wood be considered as the primary building material in municipally funded buildings since the Wood First Act came into effect. Sixty-eight midrise, wood-frame buildings have been planned around the province because of changes to the B.C. Building Code, increased the limit on wood-frame construction from four storeys to six. And we’re identifying new product opportunities such as engineered strand lumber and cross laminated timber from mountain pine beetle-attacked wood. Our forest industry helps build this province. These are just a few of our local successes that assure it will build the future. Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo Chilcotin.