If there is one thing I have learned from the past four years of producing my new documentary series Heartwood: A West Coast Forestry Documentree, it is that there is no shortage of people who all agree that B.C.’s forest sector is in desperate need of some new ideas – particularly on the coast.
I have gone sailing with tourism operators in the Discovery Islands, whose clients are complaining of hideous scars on the hillsides of busy tourism corridors. They have come around the world to see pristine wilderness, not industrial clear-cuts, and they are saying they should have gone to Alaska instead.
I have driven in pick-up trucks with disillusioned loggers, who are fed up with the contracting out of falling jobs by the major timber companies. These fallers are now responsible for their own insurance and their own safety, while the timber companies assume no responsibility for the people who harvest the trees.
I have marched in the streets with out of work pulp and paper workers, who are tired of seeing their jobs exported overseas. Over 40,000 forestry jobs been lost and over half of coastal mills have closed in the past decade, while log exports have increased by over 1,200 per cent.