Kaslo Mayor Greg Lay hopes the Bridges II program creates more local jobs
The North Kootenay region is getting a major kick economically after the provincial government recently announced the area is receiving assistance under the Bridges II Program.
The Bridges II Program is a two-year initiative to promote collaboration between small-tenure holders and the value-added sector.
“We look forward to working on the Bridges II project,” said Kaslo Mayor Greg Lay, RPF.
“The Kaslo and District Community Forest, several woodlot owners and value-added operators in the region have all expressed an interest in exploring how we can create more local jobs and value from our regional timber supply.”
“This is an exciting and timely project for the area,” Lay added.
The new partnership assists community forests and small woodlot licence holders in the Kaslo area to identify new business opportunities.
The program will assist surrounding Kaslo and Meadow Creek.
Woodlot owners, the Kaslo and District Community Forest and the regional forestry industry have been engaged in efforts to make more fibre available to value-added operations in the Kaslo area.
“This program will foster partnerships and strategic linkages to better utilize the fibre that’s already available, allowing businesses and communities to create more jobs in the zones that are most affected by the mountain pine beetle,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Pat Bell.
Bridges II is supported by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition (SIBAC), the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition, the B.C. Community Forests Association and the Federation of B.C. Woodlot Associations.
The program is managed by SIBAC on behalf of the other funding partners and has been actively building new business relationships in the second project area, the corridor between McBride and Barriere.
“The mountain pine beetle is an unprecedented challenge to our communities, but thanks to the Beetle Action Coalitions, we have tools we can use to help mitigate those challenges and create opportunities for the forest industry,” explained Rhona Martin, Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition chair.
Bridges II is a two-year, $200,000 initiative funded by $60,000 each from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training; the SIBAC; and the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition — and $10,000 each from the B.C. Community Forests Association and the Federation of B.C. Woodlot Associations.
Since 2001, British Columbia has committed $840 million, including $9 million to three regional Beetle Action Coalitions, for mountain pine beetle mitigation.