Quesnel Working on Recovery
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.”