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October 27, 2017 3:32 pm

Quesnel Working on Recovery

Thursday, September 14, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Quesnel, B.C.  –  In the wake of a devastating  forest fire season,  Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says  there is a progress being made in  working with the new Provincial government  on  recovery efforts for his community.

“Over the past month, we’ve been working with the new provincial government to secure the resources we need to both recover from this summer’s fire season and to continue to manage our way through the economic transition we were already experiencing as a result of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic”  says Mayor Simpson.

Simpson says the community needs more than what was  offered  following the closure of the Canfor  mill in Quesnel.  He says  following the mill closure,   his community was only offered  programs that already existed, “that we were already  taking advantage of, or had been denied access to.”

Simpson says  his community needs a local, “ground up process: one led by a local recovery team and based on our already existing economic and social development strategies and plans that will be refined to incorporate any new challenges which have emerged as a result of the fire impacts. What we need from the province is the incremental resources to facilitate and coordinate our own recovery and transition efforts, not some team of provincial bureaucrats second-guessing our ability to manage our own destiny or educating us about funding programs we already know about.”

He says  he will be  working with  the  Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and Northern Development Initiative Trust  to see what needs to be done  to “realign the financial resources they have available to them so that they more directly and more readily support fast-tracking  our economic transition and recovery initiatives.”  He also plans to  speak with  senior government officials  about  the Rural Dividend Fund and the Forest Enhancement fund   to  see how those  programs can be  modified to  meet current needs.

“The key message we are giving to the new provincial government is simple: the time to start developing recovery strategies is now and these strategies need to be based on refining economic and social development plans that have already been developed for our City and region” says Mayor Simpson.

“If we can convince the new government to align their offers of support with this approach we’ll be best positioned to create the most robust and effective strategies and initiatives to both recover from this summer’s fire season and to manage our way through the current economic transition.”


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