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Forest minister to hear Castlegar concerns

Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff will be leading a delegation to the coast this week to speak to Forest and Range minister Pat Bell regarding the job losses in the Arrow-Boundary Forest District Office.


The Castlegar office is losing 15 of its 60 jobs in what the provincial government is billing as a “workforce adjustment”.


“We're going to Victoria specifically to speak to this,” he said. “We're disappointed and we really think we need to talk to the minister directly to try to find a resolution.


“Those forestry jobs are vital,” he said, adding they have a direct impact to the local economy.


“Those 15 families probably own homes here, buy their groceries here, gas up their cars here ... and they have friends and family here, too. This definitely impacts the community and the city economy.”


He said city officials should not have had to hear about the cuts through the media, and he hopes to resolve some of these issues while in Victoria between April 26 and 28.


The 15 jobs were but a portion of the 204 jobs cut province-wide, drawing criticism form local NDP MLA Katrine Conroy.


“With 30,000 jobs lost in forestry since the BC Liberals took over and the closure of 71 mills, it is clear that the BC Liberals have failed completely in their approach to forestry,” said Conroy. “Now with the downgrading of the Forest Service, it appears they have given up completely.”