By: The Working Forest Staff
Vancouver, BC: IWPA — The Honourable Katrine Conroy, BC Minister of Forests made a public challenge at the Council of Forest Industry (COFI) convention calling upon the value-added wood producers, the major tenured forestry companies, and the BC Government to work together to find solutions for the value-added industry.
“Now is the time for industry to work together to form new partnerships and come up with ideas for how we can provide BC’s value-added manufacturers with access to the fibre they need,” said Conroy. “Government will be doubling our efforts to support innovation across the sector and accelerating the transition from high volume to high-value production. This will mean more wood products made in BC, fewer raw log exports, and more jobs created per tree harvested.”
“We have heard from the value-added sector, and we’ve heard from the primary sector, I’m encouraging them to get together, work together and bring those ideas to us as government,” said Conroy. “…We can do it so that it’s not government telling you what to do. It’s us working together, because who knows better than how we should or how the industry should work, than all of you in this room.”
“We accept this challenge and are ready to sit down now with Industry and government to find solutions to help BC’s value-added wood industry thrive,” said Ken Kalesnikoff, Chair of the Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association, and member of the BC Value-Added Wood Coalition. “For too long, and it’s been over 40-years that we have been talking about creating a stronger value-added wood sector and now is the time to make this a reality.”
“I agree with Minister Conroy, the BC value-added industry needs a healthy primary sector, and the only way we will create more jobs and sustainably maximize the harvest is to ensure the value-added industry has a guaranteed access to raw materials,” said Andy Rielly, Chair of the Independent Wood Processors Association, and member of the BC Value Added Wood Coalition. “And I agree with the Minister, only through working together will our forest sector thrive and all British Columbians win.”
“Encouraging BC’s major licensees to provide value-added wood producers more access to raw materials, which includes both logs and lumber will help the government realize its vision of moving from high volume to higher-value wood production,” says John Gillis, Vice-Chair, BC Wood and member of the BC Value Added Wood Coalition. “The time is right for all of us to work together, and I applaud Minister Conroy for her challenge.”
In response to the provincial government’s ambitious shift in forest policies, British Columbia’s value-added and specialty wood producers have joined together to form an umbrella coalition, the BC Value-Added Wood Coalition, to facilitate government and industry engagement. The Coalition has formed with the goal of providing a more unified and considered voice to assist the government and industry to develop a policy framework that supports the vision of moving from higher volume to higher-value wood products. The Coalition represents most of BC’s value-added wood producers and is supported by the three provincial value-added wood industry associations: BC Wood Specialties Group, the Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association, and the Independent Wood Processors Association.