Local Forester Appointed to Council to Help Build Support in Forestry and Community Resiliency
Grand Forks, B.C.: In a move recognizing the contribution made by Registered Professional Forester (RPF) Dan Macmaster to forestry, the Province of B.C. has appointed him to a newly formed provincial advisory council to support forestry workers and communities as the forestry sector undergoes a shift.
“It is an honour to represent the rural communities in the Kootenay Boundary region and a great responsibility that the Province has handed over to the members of this Council,” said Macmaster. “Forestry is changing and we need to be prepared to face the changing times so no one is left behind.”
The new Forestry Worker Supports and Community Resiliency Council is expected to advise the Provincial Government on improvements to existing programs and the development of new, forward-looking initiatives aimed at supporting forestry workers and the economic resiliency of rural communities. The Council, which is chaired by Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Doug Routley, includes 18 other members from throughout B.C. including Indigenous and government leaders, forest industry and labour representatives, academics, and non-governmental organizations.
In early November, the Council held its first meeting allowing the Council members to become familiar with their colleagues and offer insight into the current and upcoming community support programs.
Macmaster noted a few highlights from the meeting:
Community Development: The Council looks to support and shape several pathways for communities to build their own future while also helping to develop capacity to diversify the economy of small forestry communities.
Forestry as a Career: The Council recognizes how vital the forest sector is for the province and discussed ways to encourage more people to join the industry. It seeks to come up with creative ways to form partnerships, explore support with technologies, and develop programs to help workers. There was a discussion on challenges the forest sector has faced with a focus on how to re-tool forestry operations to provide more innovative, value-added opportunities and good-paying jobs.
Indigenous Knowledge: The Council wants to ensure that Indigenous knowledge and experience are considered and respected in forestry.
Socio-Economic Development: The Council discussed the benefit of highly customized responses that take into consideration the diverse nature of the impacts on communities across the province. They want to build stronger, more resilient forestry communities and create new economic opportunities through innovative, value-added manufacturing.
Macmaster also said that Council members look at this as an opportunity to do a deep dive into these topics to develop practical recommendations for the Provincial government. The Council will assist the Province to ensure programs are targeted, effective, and responsive to community needs and priorities.
“The Council is an opportunity to learn from the diverse members who are involved and together find solutions for the challenges we all are dealing with locally,” noted Macmaster.
The next meeting of the Council will be held in the new year.