July 16, 1997
(Forest Resources and Agrifoods)
$2.5 million for additional silviculture projects across the province
Premier Brian Tobin and Beaton Tulk, Minister of Development and Rural Renewal (on behalf of Kevin Aylward, Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods), announced today the commitment of $2.5 million to develop and enhance forest resources in this province. Anna Thistle, MHA - Grand Falls-Buchans participated in the announcement in Grand Falls Windsor.
"This $2.5 million will be directed towards employment on silviculture projects located throughout rural Newfoundland," said the Premier. "This funding now makes it possible to initiate an additional 60 projects that will result in silviculture treatment of over 1,500 hectares of forest lands. In addition, approximately $102,000 of this fund will be directed to habitat enhancement projects for wildlife and inland fish management. In total, this new funding will generate 5,600 person weeks of employment, or approximately 500 new seasonal jobs."
The Premier further noted that the forest resource of this province has historically been a primary source of stable income. As well, the forest is fundamental to the distinctive culture and lifestyle of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. "Investment in silviculture will build this renewable resource further," stated the Premier. "It will set the stage for further expansion of the traditional and new forest industries, and the multitude of other recreational, social and tourism benefits of the forest resource."
Earlier this year, the government announced a 20-Year Strategic Forest Management Plan, which confirmed a significant deficit in intermediate age timber, 40-60 years, in the forests on the island. These new projects, as well as existing management and conservation measures, will work toward addressing this issue, as well as focus on maintaining and enhancing forest resources in this province.
For 1997, government announced that a total of $12.4 million will be spent on silviculture-related work. This investment represents direct provincial contributions combined with partnership arrangements with the two pulp and paper companies, Abitibi Consolidated Inc. and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, plus a combination of federal/provincial government investment through the Transitional Jobs Fund.
Today government is providing further strong support to the ongoing silviculture program. This new funding will bring the total number of silviculture projects to 160, and total employment will exceed past projects with a high of 14,800 person weeks expected to be generated by this work. This allocation raises the overall investment in silviculture for 1997 to $15 million.
These projects provide meaningful work that will contribute to the long-term viability of the over 80 rural Newfoundland communities that rely on various levels of forestry related activity. Moreover, this investment is an effective way to stimulate employment, simply because 70 per cent of each dollar spent in silviculture is salary-related.
"This additional funding for silviculture will help us to sooner reach the goal of a sustainable forest and forestry industry, which is essential to many communities throughout our province, especially in rural areas," said Mr. Tulk. "We will be partnering with community and economic development groups to deliver these projects in an efficient and effective manner in the next few weeks. I am delighted with this positive reinforcement of the government's long-term silviculture strategy. "
Ms. Thistle added: "These additional investments will help secure the timber supply for the long term, which is vital to the health of the economy in many of our rural communities, and especially to mill towns like Grand Falls-Windsor, Stephenville and Corner Brook."