Kootenay Columbia Lumber
January 22nd, 2018 - 4:44pm
Our riding has 15 lumber mills. I stay in contact with them to see how they are doing, particularly in relation to Softwood Lumber and exports to the USA. Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Louisiana Pacific’s Golden Mill which manufactures plywood and laminated lumber. Their products are not subject to US duties and the mill is doing well.
LP directly employs 400 local residents and positively impacts hundreds more local jobs indirectly, including loggers and suppliers. Golden’s local lumber mill contributes approximately $50 million dollars to the local economy on an annual basis.
I enjoyed talking to the managers of LP Golden on the company’s work related to environmental stewardship. In 2009 LP, along with other forest companies, worked with the provincial government to implement the Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan which set aside approximately 2.2 million hectares of forested land as critical habitat in B.C’s southern region. The mill continues to work alongside government to manage for the recovery of species at risk, including caribou, and has implemented practices for long-term conservation of migratory birds. There must be a balance between environmental and economic priorities to ensure our local communities can thrive. Caribou survival continues to be a challenging issue for industry and for the provincial and federal governments.
Last summer, Kootenay Columbia mills wanted a quick, but fair, long term resolution to the softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the USA. The US government has now set “final” import duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber. Our mills are currently doing okay as lumber prices are high, but having a good softwood lumber agreement with the USA is still critical to the long-term economic well-being of our people.