Letter to the Editor: Beyond the beetle

There are two primary choices in life: "to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them."

Dear Editor,

Denis Waitley wrote that there are two primary choices in life: “to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them”; and when it comes to managing the mountain pine beetle (MPB), the BC Liberal government chose to change the condition we did not create.

The MPB infestation is an unprecedented natural disaster which is the direct result of climate change and an NDP failure to act in the 1990s. The first large-scale infestation was found in 1994 in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park but for ideological reasons the NDP refused to allow logging in provincial parks to stop the spread of the beetle and the rest is not only history but an ongoing reality.

Today the MPB has killed a cumulative total of 726 million cubic meters of timber and it is predicted that by 2020, 58 per cent of all of B.C.’s pine volume will be “red or dead”. So it was with pride that Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Thomson announced our government’s commitment to forest renewal through nine sustained and eleven new actions that are contained in government’s action plan to increase the mid-term timber supply. Our government’s action signals the start of the final phase in its decade-long response to the mountain pine beetle infestation. Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested over $884 million on forest management and economic development in the MPB-impacted areas, to assist forestry-dependent communities to diversify their economic base.

Beyond the Beetle: A Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan puts a sharper focus on increasing the mid-term timber supply and better utilizing timber for bioenergy and other purposes, to complement the traditional focus on sawlogs.

Highlights of the action plan include a 10-year forest inventory strategy, innovative silviculture practices to grow more trees faster, and landscape fire management planning to reduce risks to the midterm timber supply. Other key elements of the plan include proposed new legislation to convert volume-based forest licences to area-based forest licences, and the creation of a new supplemental forest licence to increase bioenergy opportunities.

Norm Macdonald and the NDP will continue to tell you that our forest industry is in shambles; they are wrong. In 2011, over 53,000 people were employed directly in the forest industry and forest product exports totalled $9.95 billion. Over 198 million seedlings were planted and it is estimated that over 200 million seedlings will be planted by the end of 2012. In 2012-13, $30 million is being invested in the hardest-hit mountain pine beetle areas through the ministry’s land-based investment strategy. Your BC Liberal government refused to accept the MPB conditions left by the NDP and accepts the responsibility for changing them.

To learn more, read the government’s action plan at www.gov.bc.ca/pinebeetle.

Doug Clovechok

Columbia River Revelstoke Riding

BC Liberal Candidate

P 250-688-1178 | E doug.clovechok@bcliberals.com