Community Alert

Terry Lake

This space is reserved for some hard questions directed to former MLA, Dr. Terry Lake.

Dr. Lake is retired now; but who can forget the proud part he played in awarding CANFOR license to log our valley top to bottom?

Here’s a little thought experiment for those who remain behind to inhabit the little town and dubious future thereby crafted for us….

The single biggest employer in our community is the local mill which, according to one estimate, employs about 175 people and contributes about $54 million to the local economy. This is good.

It is also said that this mill manufactures 240 million board feet of lumber a year – a lot of wood by any account.

Looking around at how little of the forest base is left, it’s hard to believe that 240 million board feet of lumber a year can be sustained indefinitely. Or if it can be, then it would be helpful to know where it would come from.

Call them worrywarts, but there are some who worry about future prospects for our community. They worry about the schools, about the hospital, about the banks, about the future of the post office. They also worry about the future of all the little local businesses that depend on a population of just such and such a size. Hollow out a community, and they disappear.

As well, they worry about what happens to a small community when for more than a generation its children are forced to move to the cities for lack of work.

Not least, they worry about what would happen if the equivalent of 240 million board feet of lumber ever ran out.

Will our community, like so many other small communities across the province, wake up one morning to find that our single biggest employer has closed up shop? It’s happened before.

These are questions.

Unfortunately Dr. Lake, now retired, is no longer around to answer them…

“Our company manufactures 240 million board feet of lumber a year at our Vavenby facility, employing 175 people and contributing more than $54 million to the regional economy every year.” So said CANFOR’s general manager for forest planning, Peter Baird, in the Clearwater Times on 17 July 2014. This is good. Still, one wonders how long can this go on before the trees run out…

Next up: Caribou Alert