Letters to the Editor: September 21

Diversity@work; Canal Flats Mill Closure; Kudos to Council

Diversity@Work

I feel compelled to write to advise you of a slight inaccuracy in the article (attached) printed in the Cranbrook Daily Townsman/Bulletin on September 1st regarding the Diversity @ Work Award given to the Park Operator of our  East Kootenay campgrounds.

Recognition should go to Jenna on behalf of her company EK Parks.  BC Parks, which is part of a Division within the Ministry of Environment, cannot take credit for their great participation and support of the Employment Options Program.

That said, we are extremely pleased that Jenna and EK Parks are receiving the recognition they so well deserve.

Rob MacDonald, Section Head, BC Parks/Kootenay Section

Ministry of Environment, Kootenay Okanagan Region, Cranbrook

Mill Closure

The popular question is: “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Canfor’s announcement recently to permanently close the Canal Flats sawmill due to “a lack of economically available fibre supply…” is a classic example of exploitation of our public forests and flies in the face the company’s policies regarding its commitment to communities and sustainability. Here are direct quotes from their “2014 Sustainability Report”:

Communities

“Canfor is a respected member of every community where we operate. At the end of the day, we want our neighbors to feel the community is stronger because Canfor is part of it.”

Performance

“Our actions demonstrate our commitment to sustainability in everything we do in every part of our operations everyday.”

I bet the 80 laid off workers and their families, along with the town of Canal Flats, would have some strong opinions regarding these statements!

Do you know that Canfor has closed many Canadian mills in the past few years for the same reasons? Do you know that their 2014 annual report proudly crows about the recent purchase of six sawmills in the southern USA and their “rich and sustainable fibre supplies”? Is this Canfor’s idea of commitment to Canadians? The pattern is beginning to look a lot like “Cut and Run”!

As a retired professional forester I am particularly concerned that this mill closure is another example of the failure of our present forest management system to protect the public interest, not just jobs, but the forest itself. Obviously, the remaining “economically viable fibre supply” is under considerable pressure with the consequence of negative impacts on our views, water, wildlife and recreational opportunities. If you have any doubts, get in your vehicle and drive the forest roads to see for yourself!

The company’s history has shown that its only a matter of time until another there is another mill closure — when the fibre runs out. Which workers will be next? Where is the government and professional forester oversight to ensure the public interest is protected?

We can’t let the degradation of our forests and erosion of our jobs (to our competitors south of the border) continue. It’s time we look at the many viable alternatives to the relentless pursuit of multinational corporations for ultimate control of our public forests.

Jim Smith, RPF (ret), Creston

Kudos

I suppose I’m like a lot of people and only write Letters to the Editor when I have a complaint or beef about something, but I thought I would try to change that by writing this letter to compliment our City Staff.

Over the course of the last year of so, I have had several  occasions to deal with the city on various issues.  This has ranged from the admin staff, to engineering, to public works.

I have been treated with the utmost courtesy, professionalism and efficiency and I feel we are particularly well served by our city staff in this community.

Also, it is great to see all the paving done on our city streets this year.  It is nice to see our council follow through with their campaign priorities.

Neil Matheson, Cranbrook

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