Burns Lake council discusses timber supply

The annual UBCM convention took place in Victoria last week.

Acting mayor John Illes, councillors Chris Beach and Susan Schienbein and Sheryl Worthing, Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Burns Lake, attended the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Victoria last week.

During the annual convention, Burns Lake council had a meeting with Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, to discuss Burns Lake’s impending shortfall in timber supply.

Council asked for ideas on how Burns Lake can prepare for a possible loss of economic activity when the annual allowable cut of the Burns Lake Community Forest (BLCF) drops to 63,000 cubic metres. After 2020, the BLCF and the Chinook Community Forest will represent only a portion of the log supply required to keep Babine Forest Products and Decker Lake Forest Products operating.

“It was a positive meeting and they agreed to work with us to find solutions to help the community prepare for the future,” said Worthing. “Ministry staff will contact me after UBCM to discuss next steps.”

Councillors also had a meeting with Network B.C. to discuss possible improvements to cellphone service in the area.

“It was a good meeting and they [Network B.C.] have committed to working with village staff on options for looking at increasing coverage,” said Worthing.

During this year’s UBCM, Eileen Benedict, Director of Electoral Area E for the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN), met with Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, to ask for more improvements on Colleymount Road.

According to local residents, Colleymount Road – which extends from Francois Lake’s ferry landing to km 54 – has had a significant increase of commercial and non-commercial traffic and presents safety issues such as narrow, blind corners and sloughing on both road portions and embankments.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure committed to some improvements on the road such as shoulder widening and mowing, pullout construction, brushing, sealcoating shore armouring, geotechnical repairs, corner improvements and bridge improvements.

Lakes District News asked Benedict for details on how the meeting went, but Benedict did not respond by press time.