President & CEO, Coast Forest Products Association
A Competitive Coastal Forest Industry is a Gift to Us All
Competitive BC companies support British Columbians, their businesses, and communities throughout our province. Coast Forest’s new Vision for coastal forestry demonstrates how our industry provides jobs, provincial revenue and drives our economy. Our companies might operate south of the LNG line but, like the roots, trunk and branches of a tree, thousands of lives throughout our province are linked to our industry in some way.
In 2014, we saw a number of coastal BC-based forestry companies invest in modernizing and upgrading their operations in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace and relevant to their customers. And if we are to realize our vision and deliver the many benefits British Columbians rely on into the future, industry and government must focus on solutions that allow for this to continue.
So far, industry and government have been collaborating to stabilize the AAC, reinforce the strength of our First Nations relationships, further innovate, support domestic manufacturing and bolster skills and training. Progress has been made but, right now, we need to focus on: reducing our delivered log costs; further strengthening the certainty that comes from strong and respectful partnerships with First Nations; and ensuring licensees and BCTS get more of the volume out.
Results in these three areas in the new year will provide a competitive jurisdiction for coast forest companies to thrive. This means that our geoscientists, mom-and-pop restaurant owners, wholesalers, software engineers, bankers and truck drivers will also thrive. It means that the tourism operators, forest biologists and university professors will have paying customers and renewed contracts in the new year. And it means that our roads will be maintained and we’ll have hospitals that are equipped to treat us when we need them.
If we’re to compete in the global economy and prosper as citizens of BC, industry and government must collaborate to boost the ability of coastal forestry companies to compete, innovate, stay sustainable and invest here at home. We have our work cut out for us. But we can do it.