Quesnel City Council is lobbying B.C. Premier Christy Clark on behalf of the community’s forest sector.
Council approved Mayor Bob Simpson’s letter to the premier this week in support of an 18 month old request by West Fraser for PST relief for Quesnel River Pulp and for the premier to take immediate steps to reduce energy costs at both Quesnel River Pulp and Westpine MDF.
Simpson says the requests would make those companies more viable and provide a better incentive for energy efficiency investments in those plants.
He says it’s a conversation that’s been going on in Quesnel for some time and is hoping Premier Clark will provide some relief in time for the 2016 provincial budget.
“So we give the certainty needed to attract investment into our community and keep those mills operating.”
He says increases in Hydro rates aren’t helping either, noting capital “needs to have a signal from the provincial government that partnership programs with BC Hydro are going to be attractive.”
Simpson says it’s been difficult to get any attention on these issues because of the Province’s preoccupation with the LNG industry.
“The government has been busy trying to give birth to the LNG industry, holds a summer session and passes legislation that will bind future governments into tax regime preferential treatment for an industry that doesn’t yet exist, doesn’t employ anybody, doesn’t pay any taxes” he says.
“Meanwhile we have industries that have outstanding requests of government that would allow them to invest in actual physical plants that have been here, employ people and that pay taxes