Port Alberni Mayor Mike Ruttan says the amount of raw logs leaving his city’s port is growing exponentially and he wants some answers.
He adds one in seven raw logs leaving Canada is leaving from Port Alberni.
“We get concerned because we think potentially those are jobs, potentially that’s income for the Province, income for people who live in the City of Port Alberni,” Ruttan told CHEK News.
Raw unmanufactured logs have filled 25 ships heading to foreign ports, mainly China this year, on target to match last year’s 53 vessels, but so far in 2015 only four ships have left with lumber processed in Port Alberni.
Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser is also concerned. “Those are jobs, British Columbian jobs that the government needs to prioritize and they’re not. The only government policy on forestry seems to be knock em down and ship em out as quickly as possible,” said Fraser.
Forestry Minster Steve Thomson tells CHEK News domestic logs must be offered to domestic buyers before they can be exported and if there isn’t a domestic bidder, the logs can be exported often at premium prices.
“Bottom line is there has to be some way, there has to be some additional benefit to the City, to the people in the city and the province. But the answer’s there, and I bet you the solution is a political and not an economic one” said Ruttan.