OUR VIEW: Forest industry sends its best; wish you were here

Saw news items the other day extolling the returning health of the forest industry

Seeing the forest for the trees…Saw news items the other day extolling the returning health of the forest industry.

Nice to hear. It’s a little late for us in Campbell River after we’ve lost the TimberWest sawmill and the Elk Falls paper mill.

Over the last couple of years I wrote editorials castigating the provincial government (and the feds too for good measure) for not taking any concrete measures to keep the mills alive. The government didn’t listen to me.

Fancy that.

Now things seem to be ticking along in the forest industry but we’re no longer part of it. That may be a good thing, who knows?

In a related topic, I received a press release from Elk Falls Mill owners Catalyst Ltd. trumpeting their designation by someone as one of Canada’s best corporate citizens. I guffawed out loudly when I read that and said to the empty room, “Not here they aren’t.”

The paper giant couldn’t come up with a deal to convince unionized workers to sign on and get the mothballed mill up and running.

Now, many will be inclined to say the union shot themselves in the foot but it could also be said the Catalyst offer was disingenuous and was doomed to be rejected from the start. It was merely a hollow gesture for appearances. A mill re-start just couldn’t be done without a pay cut by the workers. Just couldn’t. There was no other way to do it.

Rush hour traffic between Campbell River and Alberta…Meanwhile, Campbell River chugs along as a bedroom community for Fort MacMurray, Alberta and the rest of the Alberta oil patch.

Another friend of mine is off to northern Alberta to work in a pattern familiar to many Campbell Riverites now – a few weeks in, a few weeks out.

It’s testament to how nice it is here in Campbell River that many displaced workers are opting to keep their residences and families here and “commuting” to  Alberta.

I was talking on the phone to somone the other day who after a couple of decades at the mill is forced to take unskilled jobs at low wages because he never knew anything else but working in the mill. I’m sure it’s probably not an uncommon situation.

Old Island Highway revisited…I have to give props to fellow Mirror staffer Paul Rudan for a recent zinger.

We were debating a recent column in which I supported changing the name of the Old Island Highway.

I said, I don’t really mind the name Old Island Highway but I did acknowledge that it would be really hard to find a good replacement name.

To which Rudan – who’s dead set against changing the name – tossed out in mocking tones, “Salish Sea Way!”

Precisely what we don’t want. Maybe Old Island Highway ain’t so bad.

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