B.C. premier says it’s time to add value to province’s forestry products

Softwood lumber is pictured in Richmond, B.C., Tuesday, April 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Premier John Horgan says the government, lumber industry and communities in British Columbia need to refocus on getting more money out of provincial forests.

Dozens of forest companies have closed or curtailed operations in B.C. over what Horgan says is dwindling supply and an operating model that moves timber to market without tending to a renewable resource.

WATCH: (Sept. 25) Logging truck convoy rolls into Vancouver

Click to play video: 'Logging truck convoy rolls into Vancouver'
Logging truck convoy rolls into Vancouver

He told hundreds of delegates at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver Friday that the forest industry has focused for too long on sending raw logs offshore without adding value.

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Earlier that day, convention delegates approved a motion asking the province to reconsider its decision to transfer $25 million in funding from an economic development program for rural communities to a support program for forest workers.

READ MORE: Protest convoy of up to 200 logging trucks rolls into downtown Vancouver

The government announced a $69 million aid program last week for communities and workers hurt by the industry downturn.

Horgan said the funding diversion is not a cut and is intended to help people and communities in distress.

He said the money would be reinstated as the province monitors the forestry aid program.

WATCH: (Sept. 17) NDP government announces money for B.C. forest workers

Click to play video: 'NDP government announces money for B.C. forest workers'
NDP government announces money for B.C. forest workers

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