Municipal forestry has big spinoffs in community
I am opposed to the closure of North Cowichan’s municipal forestry program, even temporarily. Do not start tinkering with something that works so well and that supports so many valuable programs in the North Cowichan area.
We are so fortunate that the North Cowichan municipal forestry program is a 100 per cent sustainable forest practise. At two per cent we are totally sustainable and could go quite a bit higher than a two per cent cut and still be sustainable.
Logging provides the ordinary worker with the kind of decent wage that enables them to buy a house and pay a mortgage. Logging, like any business, needs to be able to count on a future; a future where the workers know that they will be able to have their jobs next year, the year after, and years after that, so that they have confidence to sink roots into our community. That two per cent cut is a very low yield but it is still enough that young people are supporting their families on those wages. These young people are raising children who go to the schools in this area. This keeps teachers employed. They shop in North Cowichan helping other people retain jobs in retail in this area, and keep our small towns alive, vibrant and thriving.
We need good paying jobs to keep young working people in this area. Logging provides those wages. We also have a large number of mill workers that live in the North Cowichan area who rely on having the product to run the saw mills on. These workers are dependent on the logging that is being done in the North Cowichan area.
The spinoffs from logging have a tremendous economic impact on our community and should not be taken lightly.
This jewel in the crown of Cowichan Valley could be developed into a model and a learning centre for all of British Columbia, which could receive grants from universities, technical colleges and government.
The two per cent cut keeps the risk of devastation by fire lower; less fuel is on the ground and the logging roads open the area for fast response by firefighters. The indigenous people of this area used to burn forests on a regular basis as the new openings were good feeding grounds for deer and birds and the consequent hunting of them. We don’t burn the forest anymore, but removing some forest keeps a healthy habitat for foraging animals.
Also, the province is raising their share of property taxes considerably. As well, North Cowichan is raising property taxes for residents of our area. Without the cash flow from the forestry program, it is inevitable that property taxes will rise in North Cowichan. There comes a breaking point for residents of this area when you will see pensioners and people living at the lower end of the economic strata forced into selling their homes because of high property taxes — homes that they wanted to live in for rest of their lives but will be forced into selling because of high taxation.
My arguments are not for the rich or people who can afford to live comfortably with no thought for those who need to work in our community. We have always been a community where there has been a healthy balance between the economic spheres. Without the municipal forestry program young people will lose their jobs and eventually their homes. Lower income people will not be able to afford the higher taxes on their properties and be forced to sell.
And why? Why tinker with a program that works so well for our community?
When I see the tremendous amount of good that comes out of North Cowichan’s forestry program I am proud to live in an area that has been so far sighted and so fortunate to have a program like this and would like to see it continued, and not closed, even temporarily.
Carol & John Money