As its last official act of 2019, Campbell River City Council decided to make use of its remaining unspent “council contingency” to support struggling forestry workers.
Coun. Ron Kerr presented the motion as a late item on Monday night, saying that although he’s never personally been in the forestry industry, he recognizes how important is has been, historically, to the community, and how critical it remains to so many in the region.
“There was a forestry rally and fundraiser this afternoon that the mayor spoke at and was well represented by council,” Kerr says. “I think this is a very challenging time for the logging industry and its employees in the North Island. I’ve never been a logger, but as a businessman, I’ve suffered alongside them when the community has gone through times like this. It doesn’t just effect them, it effects everyone, especially at this time of the year.”
He proposed giving $20,000 from the council contingency budget to Loonies For Loggers, an organization which has been fundraising for struggling forestry workers and providing support hampers to families effected by the situation.
Coun. Cornfield was in full support.
“This strike issue has effected some people since July,” Cornfield says. “That changed about a month ago, and it now affects everyone in the forest sector on the coast, and we’re starting to feel that trickle down effect – the spinoff to the manufacturers and suppliers, everything that is connected to the industry. It’s starting to hit home now, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. We need to support the industry that was there to help build this community.”
Mayor Andy Adams thanked Kerr for his motion as well as Kerr, fellow councillors Claire Moglove, Kermit Dahl and Cornfield, for attending the rally that afternoon.
“In my opening comments I told everyone thank-you for coming, but I wish I didn’t have to see you, because you should be out there working,” Adams says. “For those who have been out of work since July, it’s going on six months, and this is normally the time that they’re doing the last bit of work for the year and then traditionally shut down for four months, so that means that six months is going to be 10 months … even if they do come to a resolution (soon).”
He also encouraged anyone on council who may have doubts about Loonies For Loggers being the right organization to give the money to by saying he has met with the organizers of the initiative, “and I’m confident that they have the administrative capacity to be able to distribute these funds appropriately.”
Council voted unanimously in favour of the motion.