NCLGA Looking for Greater Say in Forestry Sector
Prince George, B.C. – Local government’s ought to have more input when it comes to big decisions in the forestry sector.
That’s the focus of a resolution that will be debated at the North Central Local Government Association’s (NCLGA) annual convention in Dawson Creek next month (May 4-6).
The recommendation’s been put forth by the NCLGA executive and coincides with another executive resolution which seeks greater consultation with local government’s for industrial projects.
“There is a need, and I’d like to say requirement, that local government’s are not just consulted but they need to be engaged by industry on almost any major decision in and around that community,” says president Brian Frenkel.
“It doesn’t have to just be forestry, it can be mining, it can be pipelines. We want to be involved because we’re all a little bit worried. Is forestry going to be as strong as it has been? It’s not going away but we want to make sure that our communities at the end of the day are still standing.”
And considering northern mill closures the past few years, he says there’s no doubt extra consultation is needed.
“You can’t be the Houstons’ and the Quesnels’ where you wake up one morning and the CEO’s are phoning those mayors going, ‘yeah, we’re shutting down a mill.’
“Those have huge implications for communities and we need to have some sort of engagement process that will better enable us to understand what’s going on in the resource sector around us.”
Frenkel says over 30 resolutions will be debated in Dawson Creek and will range from a plea to discontinue the annual time change to a highly publicized resolution from the City of Williams Lake to track prolific offenders with a GPS tracking device.
However the big question is whether or not the resolutions passed will go anywhere once they hit the UBCM convention floor later this year.
“We were successful last year, I think that’s what we’re seeing, that our resolutions hit home so much. Last year we had three or four that got acted on right away.”
(Including a resolution to erase rape culture pervasive in schools, universities, and workplaces which led to national media coverage, a meeting with B.C.’s solicitor general and the #SaySomething campaign aimed at achieving a violence free B.C,).
He acknowledges however it is harder for rural areas to have their voices heard though he stops short at characterizing the North as the ‘poor cousins’ of B.C.
“I wouldn’t say the poor cousins but we have a more difficult time trying to get the ear of government.
“Don’t get me wrong, we’re doing it, but it’s tougher for us.”