A new plan for Woodfibre
In letters last week, Doug Muir is too diplomatic about the Woodfibre closure circumstances, and Rob Greene overstates its reasons in citing "low Canadian productivity".
Fact: the Woodfibre mill crew productivity is among the best in the world. Look what they've done in efficiently running this plant neglected by its owners for so long - making ongoing environmental improvements the whole time!
Another point was not mentioned. This pulp mill closure is bad news for the cause of pursuing a sustainable, adaptive forest management in the Squamish Forest District. Less competition means lower prices for the low grade wood resource used for pulp.
Big industry will always have plans for our quality timber and easy second growth stands. But an unbalanced utilization will affect the overall health of our forests and reduce the various benefits they could provide long into the future.
Elsewhere, many forest communities abandoned by industry are facing huge costs in coping with the wildfires, and storm and disease damage that our local forests will also be increasingly prone to. (E.g., western U.S.and Alps) Without economic uses for small diameter and poor quality trees, we can't carry out selection logging and thinning to improve wildlife habitat, timber stand quality, and allow longer rotations.
A new industry using this material to make building products for the dwelling - the end of the wood value chain - would have the best chance of supporting good wage jobs.
In the past five years, over 30 new manufacturing facilities for doing just this have started up in central and northern Europe. Partly employing some Canadian technology we've forgotten, they're taking low grade boards (planed and dried) and laminating or otherwise joining them into panels, used as prefab wall, floor, and ceiling elements.
We'll repatriate this idea, and engage in a value-adding partnership with our building industry. It could use some system solutions to bring down costs.
After establishing ourselves in the local and Lower Mainland solutions market, we'll be shipping houses and other prefab products flat-pack to Fort MacMurray and our sister city, the port of Shimizu, Japan.
Everything will be stamped with our 'Paula the Clown' logo, and customers everywhere will know or want to know where it came from. (Only one possible place!) Discriminating consumers, particularly in Japan, always appreciate quality with character.
Various "accessories" will be carefully packed into our shipping containers: design articles from Squamish Nation artisans and the folks at the end of Second Avenue, plus perhaps the rooftop wind power units from WestTech Energy.
There will be many R&D and design projects to take on. After all, we have in this area 15 (!) mostly underutilized tree species to work with. Wood from some could be certified as "Harvested only under a Squamish full moon". The stuff will sell like candy! The possibilities are endless, really.
This Community Forestry/Wood/ Building Business Plan may not be realized in time for the urgent needs of displaced Woodfibre employees. But if their families may remain in Squamish, their grandchildren will come to appreciate first-hand the legacy of well-managed forests it will have contributed to.
Beware of emergency
Beware if at any time you will have a need to visit the emergency room at the Squamish General, there are etiquette rules to abide by. Do not interrupt when adults are talking, possibly exchanging views on the history of cases dealt with during the night.
In my world having to go to the emergency room, means an emergency. On Dec. 16 at 7:30 a.m. my husband was having or already had a heart attack, when we entered the emergency room he sat down at the first chair, I went to reception desk and said 'excuse me' because two men were talking and one nurse was involved in work at the desk. I was 'told' to "wait a minute, we are having a conversation" by the man sitting in the chair. I carried on to say "I have a man with chest pains and pain down his left arm", I was 'told' again "can't you see, we're having a conversation, the nurse will look after you" which was obviously a dismissal for me and an order for the nurse.
The staff who did attend to my husband were exceptional in both concern and care. He was stabilized and moved to St. Paul's for further treatment.
If being rude to get attention for a loved one's safety or life, I'm guilty, but certainly astounded by the person making this judgment and where my manners are brought into question. I have the names of said men, and it turns out they are doctors but do not know which one was sitting, and with good fortune I will never have a need to know the doctor who puts his conversation above anyone's life.
People unclear on the concept
Re : Bubbles at the Adventure Centre:
The District of Squamish (a.k.a. DOS, I don't know if that's DOS 5.0, or maybe DOS 3.3) puts up menhirs at the town entrance. Well, it's never been explained to me; perhaps they are memorials to lost jobs. Next, someone decides that the tourists need a really ugly building to look at as they speed past the locals, so The Queen's Cowboys (a.k.a. "Gendarmerie Royale Canadien") erect a new premise kitty-corner to the local doughnut place. Finally, the Son of Saddledome" goes up, complete with a waterfall as well as a moat.
Now, these things are all hilarious. They are the stuff of high camp. Why are people surprised then when a few wags add to the hilarity by making a few bubbles? Look at any fountain anywhere in the world (well, other than police-states, of course). It's a no-brainer, just add soap and serve up the fun!
Do the powers-that-be not realize that all the things they have done lately appear to be designed to make us laugh? Were we mistaken? Weren't they meant to be laughed at?
If our leaders really want to be taken seriously, they should bulldoze the police station, crush the obelisks or whatever they are, dam up the waterfall and fill in the moat. Maybe figure out how to attract some new real jobs. If that doesn't appeal, then they should not be surprised if people try to have some fun with those things. It's not like they were built for us or that we had any say in their planning.
Okay, maybe the sprout-heads would be happier if phosphate-free, biodegradable bubble soap was used. Well, probably not. Maybe they should just get a life and let people enjoy themselves. It's hard enough to find anything funny enjoyable about living here anymore. At least for a moment or two we might forget that most of our dreams and hopes have dissipated, like foam in a moat.
Re: Mill Closure:
It's misleading to suggest that taxes from new residential and retail construction will offset the loss from the pulp mill closure within about four years. The additional taxes will go to providing municipal services to these new residents. On the other hand, the Western Pulp tax contribution was "pure gravy" with no draw on municipal services. The impact of the mill closure will have a significant impact on our community for many years.