Recent History – 1999
Sept. 15, 1999, By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
A comprehensive plan for promoting hardwood is being developed by the Peace Wood Value Added Association (PWVAA). The aim, said PWVAA president Herb Brent, is to maximize the job creation and economic returns that can be made through the harvesting and processing of such species as aspen. Hardwood is especially important in the Peace, he said, because 70 per cent of the hardwoods in the province are located in this region. Moreover, the effort has gained the support of Forest Renewal British Columbia (FRBC).
“We see big things coming out of the hardwoods, and maybe more than other people can see, and I’m really excited that FRBC would give us this opportunity to bring industry forward,” Brent said.
The key, he said, is to not only harvest the hardwood that’s growing here but have it transformed into finished products here as well. If done properly, Brent said, 2,000 jobs could be created.
“If you can create one job by taking wood from a tree and putting it in a two-by-four or a dimensional and shipping it somewhere else, you can create 35 jobs by making a chair with it,” he said. In that sense, Brent said the smaller mills and manufacturers based in the Peace should be the focus.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he said. “Our money stays here, we create jobs for local people.”
Not only are hardwoods tougher and more user-friendly than softwoods in certain applications, Brent said, but species like aspen grow more quickly and with less expense in terms of reforestation work.
Components of the plan include finding market opportunities, developing an educational component, and looking at the possibilities of holding a conference or trade show here.
Currently in the developmental stages, Brent said a conference could be held here within two years.