Agreement secures local forestry jobs

A new Marten Hills Forest Management Agreement for the Slave Lake region was signed with several forestry companies. Left-right, are Tolko vice-president of woodlands Kevin Jewett, West Fraser Slave Lake mill general manager Kevin Albrecht, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier, Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee and Vanderwell Contractors general manager Ken Vanderwell.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Forestry companies in the region have a new forestry agreement for the next 20 years to harvest trees and ensure prosperity.

A new Marten Hills Forest Management Agreement for Tolko Industries Ltd., West Fraser Mills Ltd. and Vanderwell Contractors Ltd. Was signed with the provincial government, says a news release Dec. 13.

The agreement involving all parties commits to sustainable forest management, including forest regeneration and forest operations.

“Renewal of the Marten Hills FMA enables Tolko to continue to invest in Alberta’s sustainability, provide great well-paying jobs and pay taxes to support services we depend on,” says Bob Fleet, Tolko vice-president of environment and forestry.

Forestry accounts for 13.5 per cent of employment income in the Slave Lake area, with 470 direct jobs and 690 indirect jobs.

West Fraser values the agreement.

“We are pleased to renew the agreement, a foundation for delivering sustainable resource development and economic prosperity for Albertans,” says Larry Gardner, West Fraser vice-president of Cana- dian woodlands.

“Reliable, long-term access to a working forest provides the future resource stability we need to invest capital, provide high-quality jobs, renew healthy forest and positively contribute to community economies.”

Local government MLAs say the agreement is important to the economy.

“Our forestry industry is a huge part of our local economy, providing hundreds of good jobs in Slave Lake and across the region,” Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee says.

“I’m proud our government is continuing our relationship with Tolko, Vanderwell, and West Fraser through this agreement, because it’s a win for the hardworking families of Lesser Slave Lake.”

The forestry minister agrees.

“Ensuring forestry companies are able to provide high-paying and stable jobs for Albertans is a priority for our government,” says Oneil Carlier, MLA for Whitecourt – Ste. Anne.

“This agreement will support long-term, secure and stable access to fibre, allowing them to contribute to the local economy and communities in northern Alberta.”

FMAs balance economic, social and environmental aspects of forest resources to keep them sustainable.

Reforestation, biodi- versity watershed health, pest management and community consultation and support are essential parts of an FMA.

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