COFI Conference About Raising Awareness Mayor Says
Prince George, B.C. – Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall has deemed his trip to this year’s Council of Forest Industries (COFI) conference in Vancouver a success.
He says a big part of his task was to educate people outside the North about how important the industry is to everyone – not just forest dependent communities.
Hall says he had the chance to do that during a community leaders panel which involved mayors from around the province.
“I think one of the things I wanted to deliver through that panel was to really bring awareness to folks in the audience that were from Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, about what the forestry industry does – not just for our region but for the entire province,” he says.
“And how crucial it is to have a strong forest industry for the economic benefit of all of the province – not just for those of us who live in really forest dependent communities.”
Hall figures he was successful delivering his message.
“I think in some respects it got through. I think it’s a learning curve, it’s an opportunity for us to talk about it whenever we can. Particularly when we’re in Vancouver,” he says.
“And I think that it takes education and that’s one of the things I came away with – is that we can always do a better job communicating about the forest industry or the natural resource sector.”
In the absence of a Softwood Lumber Agreement – did he still manage to leave the conference with a positive vibe?
“I’m feeling really good about the industry. It’s funny you should mention that because my speech was around our municipality, looking at the positive opportunities that are out there for the forest sector and it’s all because of the diversification of that sector,” said Hall.
“So, we talked about bioenergy, we talked about using wood differently. I think there’s a real positive opportunity for us. There’s no question we’re concerned about the softwood lumber deal – we’re waiting to see what happens with that – government may have to make some drastic changes, but I think there’s still a very positive feel.
“You talk about fibre supply – sure there’s still issues in the industry but I don’t think you can let those issues bog you down and you need to still be very positive about the approach.”