I have recently read some information and spoken with our Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad about his position regarding fibre supply for our mills and his crusade to solve the problem by removing the conservation of other values such as visual quality, old growth forests, and wildlife habitat.
These values, which he so easily dismisses, are critical to our quality of life as residents of northern B.C..
Contrary to recent quotes attributed to Mr. Rustad, the communities along Highway 16 are not an industrial corridor and I am offended by the suggestion.
Yes, many of us work and earn our livings in or from the forests that surround us, but we also play in that same forest.
We need a balance between resource development and quality of life. Our quality of life here in northern B.C. is strongly tied to these values of scenic areas, old growth forests, and wildlife habitat.
These values benefit our families and lifestyles; we spend time with our children and parents enjoying the great outdoors fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, boating etc.
These values benefit our homes and businesses; we build and work along rivers and lakes and in the shadows of mountains and tall timbers because of stunning visual scenes and abundant wildlife that northern B.C. has to offer. These values benefit our schools, our health care, and our community services; we offer teachers, health care workers, and other professionals something more fulfilling than a concrete jungle that convinces them to take up residence in our community.
These values connect us as a community, we love this land, it’s part of who we are. So Mr. Rustad, please don’t underestimate the value these things have to us as northerners. Please don’t throw our quality of life away in your vain belief that you have the answer to reverse the effects of the mountain pine beetle epidemic. We need our forest for jobs, but we need our forests for our quality of life too.
Upper Nechako Wilderness Council