The call for a moratorium on the movement of Crown wood to mills in the province will cripple an already ailing provincial forest industry, claims New Brunswick Forest Products Association President and CEO Mark Arsenault.
Arsenault is confused by the call for a moratorium and wonders why the Coalition is so quick to sacrifice the jobs of local harvesters, truckers and other forest support workers who are supplying wood to mills. Our members mills are supported by private woodlots, Crown land, industrial woodlands and about 13% imported wood. The Crown wood movement is keeping mills open and jobs in place while the industry weathers the current crisis.
Dale Ecceleston is a contractor who makes his living harvesting wood in the Juniper area and employs 37 people.
“If the Coalition’s plan for a moratorium went forward then we’re out of business – plain and simple- and our employees are gone. It will only make a difficult situation worse,” stated Ecceleston.
“What has happened in Juniper, and other communities suffering through recent mill closures, is a human tragedy and we’re hopeful that the current crisis will turn around and those mills will reopen. The transfer of the Juniper allocation is ensuring a vital supply of chips to Fraser Papers in Edmundston, which employs over 400 New Brunswickers. Forest companies are working cooperatively to move wood in order to maintain their operations, which will further reduce job losses,” explained Arsenault.
According to Arsenault that same scenario could easily be played out in other areas around the province where harvesting operations continue to take place despite recent mill closures. He explained that each operating mill in New Brunswick supports a diverse base of other mills, businesses and employees – they are critical to maintaining jobs throughout the province – rural and urban.
“Crown wood is managed for the benefit of every New Brunswicker and for the Coalition to imply it is being managed at the expense of rural communities is fear mongering,” says Arsenault. “The employment, revenues and taxes generated from Crown wood contribute significantly to a host of values New Brunswickers treasure such as healthcare and education.”
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