At the Sept. 25 Quesnel City Council meeting, council approved releasing funds to allow Mayor Bob Simpson to travel to Victoria and Ottawa to meet with provincial and federal politicians.
The trip will allow Simpson to follow up on conversations with ministers regarding Quesnel’s Future of Forestry Think Tank Session, which took place in May 2018. Since May, Quesnel has hosted forestry and climate change experts in coming to view the landbase and local industry, and this week brought in experts and scientists from across the province and even from Washington, USA, for a Landscape Modelling Scoping Session.
“A cornerstone of the trip is continuing to get that higher-level buy in and making sure people understand what we are doing at both the provincial and federal levels,” Simpson explains.
The Future of Forestry Think Tank identified landbase management as key in keeping the forestry sector viable. Landbase management would require forestry professionals to manage the forest as a whole to increase its resiliency, rather than managing individual tree stands, as is the current practice.
Simpson hopes to meet with the B.C. Minister of Environment and Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology in order to further innovation in Quesnel’s forestry industry.
In addition to the forestry piece, Simpson will be speaking to government representatives on other issues important for Quesnel.
“When I’m back east, [we will be following up on] the issue around RCMP and the court system – dealing with our crime issue – following up on the letter we sent with a personal visit and dialogue,” says Simpson.
Quesnel City Council sent a letter to the Attorney Generals of Canada and the province, as well as the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia calling for more RCMP resources in the city.
The letter called for the fulfillment of all 21 funded officers in Quesnel, and also asks for more officers to be funded by the province.
In Victoria, Simpson says he will follow up with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing as well as the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions for some of the work the city and local organizations have been advancing on that front.
Simpson is planning to make the trips before the new city council is sworn in, so as not to take time away from various orientation duties and work on a new strategic plan.
He also hopes to align the schedule with Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty’s availability, “so he can help get some of the doors open.”