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October 28, 2017 5:32 am

What Does the Future Hold for Prince George?

Monday, March 2, 2015 @ 1:39 PM
Moderator Tracey Summerville, UNBC president Daniel Weeks, Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall, and Governor General David Johnston - photo 250News

Moderator Tracy Summerville, UNBC president Daniel Weeks, Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall, and Governor General David Johnston – photo 250News

Prince George, B.C. – A panel of dignitaries held a discussion regarding the importance of campus and community collaboration at the Prince George Playhouse this morning.

Just one day removed from the end of the Canada Winter Games, the issue was tackled by Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, UNBC president Daniel Weeks, and City mayor Lyn Hall.

“I think Prince George sets the gold standard for that,” said Johnston, who previously was president of the University of Waterloo. “Just look at this (UNBC) remarkable university and look at the great success you’ve had with the Canada Winter Games.”

He told the audience he sees great parallels between the schools.

“They’re both very unconventional and they’re both relatively new. Waterloo is about 55 years old now and UNBC 25. Secondly I would think that they’ve been successful institutions if you look at institutions across North America,” he said.

“I think part of the secret of that success has been an ability to draw local strengths to identify what is special about this place and draw from it and contribute to it with a very clear strategy. In the case of UNBC building a northern medical school with a relatively small population of students but in terms of quality and outreach the impact has been very effective.”

He said one of the keys to such success is local ingenuity noting Waterloo began with local business people saying it needed an engineering school and built a university from there.

“Our community moved over the 50 years from being a very strong industrial community and in the space of about 20 years it lost beer, whiskey, tires, furniture, textiles, meat. It could have been a waste land but it re-invented itself largely around IT (information technology) communication technologies.”

Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall & Governor General David Johnston during today's panel discussion at the Prince George Playhouse - photo 250News

Moving forward, Daniel Weeks told the audience the school needs to capitalize on its strategic location.

“The things that made Prince George great 100 years ago are no different (than today). We have to take that advantage and transform it into opportunities,” he said. “We need to be a globally connected university. We have connections across the world and it’s due to the research we do.”

Lyn Hall added the key is to remain globally competitive.

“Prince George is the hub and a big thing for us is we need to enhance that (to attract students). Students require specific things like transportation and housing. I would love to see student housing built next to the Wood Innovation & Design Centre.”

He also spoke of the importance of building relationships.

“As a community it’s all about re-connecting on these relationships and knowing who your stakeholders are. We will always be forestry driven but we are a university city.”


The annual allowable cut was cut by half in Williams Lake just a week ago. They say PG is next but didn’t want to rain on our games. Already the pulp mills are struggling to get the fiber. The chip plant log yard is half where it should be now this time of year and they will have to manage the fiber in a balancing act to keep all three pulp mills supplied during spring breakup.

If we loose Intercon as a result of fiber shortage that could cost PG thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. More than we would get if all the oil and gas projects went ahead. So really we have a short window to have technology or engineering of some sort to fill a big void in the market for jobs.

Agreed: One of the most important things our region can do to sustain a long fibre base is plant trees at about 3 times the rate they are now. Unfortunately the companies themselves are shooting them selves in the foot. The government has to get involved but they just feed us a bunch of BS and we believe it . Planting trees is a dying art that needs to be resurrected. The companies keep cutting wages (sometimes indirectly) to planting contractors and in turn discouraging skilled planters from returning to the career. Planting used to be lucrative paying job , but that is being continually eroded. Governments and big companies can feed us all the BS they want , but the real story comes from the grass roots on the block. The problem starts from growing the seedlings to sending the lumber and pulp rolling down the rail tracks.

He sees parallels between UW and unbc ? Waterloo lowers it footprint using solar . Unbc burns more stuff , raising air polution . Teaching students to burn more stuff or make a power house on the roof by not burning more stuff ? Some parallel . Get crusty to level the playing field with the run of the river projects and cut the kids lose on the roofs of the campus . The square footage is worth a fortune and so is the knowledge it would drive . The real estate is already paid for .

I was being too kind . After reviewing Waterloo,especially the engineering department , I’m convinced that Dave must have hit his head and has double vision .

old schooler – I’m a little confused by your comments. We have a fibre shortage now, and the solution is to plant 3 times as many trees – now. But it takes about 40 years for a tree to get to a merchantable size, so really, the error was made in 1975 – when ironically I believe the NDP ruled the province. But, the socreds were just as bad, using money destined to replant for other purposes.

And then, really isn’t most of this because of the beetle infestation – correct me if I’m wrong, but a problem exacerbated by an NDP decision not to log in the park where the problem began.

Now, what we’re doing today, will definitely impact a generation in the future, but human beings aren’t really that forward thinking, and governments have about a 4 year attention span.

But many a year ago, McMillan Blodel was asked why they didn’t use a special tea bag nutrient supplement which was shown to increase growth rates by about 12%, and cost about $2.00 a tree. Their answer (and keep in mind this is when every one and their dog were blocking roads and blockading logging shows) they said, “why would we spend any more money than we have to, when we have no certainty that we will ever be able to log those trees – and ironically, there is no McMillan Blodel anymore.

It does seem like a bit of an odd comparison. The Kitchener/Waterloo area has a population of roughly 600,000 people to PG’s 75,000 and it’s served by two universities. Those are the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier. For perspective, Waterloo has about 30,000 students and Wilfred Laurier has about 20,000. UNBC has about 4,000 students.

I do like the positive thinking and the desire to build from the momentum of the games and I also really hope that civic leaders in PG keep grounded and that they focus on what is attainable. Sometimes people get carried away with lofty dreams and they let slip away things that can actually result in progress.

ski51 I read that it was logging companies dropping boxes of beetles from helicopters into areas that they wanted to log in about 3 years from the “seeding”. Not likely true though.


I am correcting you because you are wrong. While it makes Liberals feel good to blame the NDP for the MPB(mountain pine beetle)infestation,not logging Tweedsmuir Park was not the cause of the problem. MPB has always been endemic in the central interior plateau-there were epidemics around Anahim Lake multiple times since the 50’s. However our cold winters used to keep them at bay. If you must blame something, blame global warming, although that is not not much accepted by many Liberal supporters. When intensive logging started to occur at the far end of the Kluskus in the early 2000’s, it only made things worse. New logging roads and trails into infestations served only to funnel and intensify the attack from the insects invariably left behind. If anything the Liberals made a bad situation worse by authorizing the trucking of beetle wood to Canfors Chetwynd Mill back in in 2004(?). Subsequently the beetle has decimated Mackenzie, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge pine inventory, and for the first time ever, has crossed into Alberta. Some MPB has now been found as far east as Sasketchewan.


It is true that some woodlot owners were guilty of using pheromone baits to attract beetles to their woodlot so they could log at reduced stumpage rates. The low rates on beetle wood had many perverse economic effects, including companies logging vast amounts of healthy spruce as “incidental” to the infested pine patches.

herbster, the MPB do not need roads to travel on, I haven’t heard any stories of baits used to lure beetles into an area so they could harvest the trees – probably an urban myth. Baits were used to attract beetles into trees that had been felled in the spring and were removed during the winter while the beetles hung out in the tree. Woodlots also used fall and burn which was a futile exercise.

Wood profile is always used for harvesting, TFL and woodlots are harvested with future in mind, they are logging stuff that was originally laid out 5 to 10 years previously on a software program in the office, they don’t go around looking for a spruce stand with a bit of MPB in it. Most of the time laying things out it is much different on the ground from the inventory map. Mills will lay out say 20,000 cubic meters if they have a 15,000 cubic meter cut. They then cut until the mill has close to the wood required and the rest sits until the next season and they lay out another 20,000 meters chosen by a geek behind a computer screen. The inventory map shows you what the wood profile and species is but some of the time it is off. Woodlots have an annual cut but are usually logged as a 5 year cut – they add up 5 years worth of cut then harvest and plant and survey for the next 5 years and then do another 5 year cut, etc. Vanderhoof woodlots were so decimated by the beetle that some woodlots have no wood left on them to harvest, this does not mean they have no wood on them, it means the wood profile is not useable by a mill so there it sits until the undergrowth eventually will replant the area.

I would love to see student housing built next to the Wood Innovation & Design Centre.”

The old Norgate site that has now been cleared would make a great site for a 3 or 4 story student housing complex .

instead of a PAC.


I laid out plenty of mpb blocks, and would come back the next year and lay them out again. Invariably, what started out as a 2 hectare MPB patch with a 2km skid trail laid into it, would turn into 5 hectare patch the next year, with MPB lining the 2 km skid trail. I have been told directly about woodlot owners using baits to attract MPB, and no removal of the infected trees were done until the whole woodlot was infected.

Once MPB was established, logging plans were modified on the fly. There was no 5 or 10 year planning horizon when it came to logging MPB blocks.If you dont think spruce was taken opportunistically then you are being naive.

This event with the Governor-General must have been some kind of PR exercise for the dignitaries. Prince George has almost nothing in common with Waterloo and UNBC has little in common with the U of Waterloo.

Southern Ontario has been one of the fastest growing and economically diverse areas of North America since WWII. PG will never experience anything like that, unless we suddenly become the new Fort McMurray.

Fort mc is not diverse but pg could be . To be economically diverse one must ascribe to the all of the above aditude . How many times has fiber let you down ?

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