The Provincial Government will be distributing $875,000 in funding for 11 communities that have been affected by permanent or indefinite mill closure or shift reductions, with Jaffray listed among the recipients.
Regional District of East Kootenay Area B (Jaffray) will be receiving $75,000 to help mill workers and their families that will be impacted by the shut down of Elko’s sawmill.
“The challenges facing Interior forest communities are unprecedented, and that’s why we are getting these resources where they are most urgently needed,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Funds from these community support grants are going directly to the local governments, as they have first-hand knowledge of what supports are most needed in their communities.”
The Province said the funding will go towards a variety of support services, such as employment workshops and training, counselling services and support for local food banks.
The funding for various communities has been given out via the Community Supports Grants Program, with funding ranging from $50,000 for communities facing permanent shift reduction, $75,000 for indefinite mill closures, to $100,000 for communities faced with permanent mill closures.
Clinton, Clearwater, Kelowna and Quesnel will be receiving $100,000. $75,000 will go to Jaffray, Fort St. James, 100 Mile House and Mackenzie. Meanwhile, Merritt and Regional District of Fraser Fort George Area C (Isle Pierre) will receive a grant of $50,000.
“Our government is working hard to make sure the supports are in place for contractors, workers and communities,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “For me, this situation is very personal, having experienced first-hand the challenges families face when a local mill closes or reduces shifts. I understand the struggles many are facing in these communities.”
Curtailing of Elko’s operations began on Monday and will continue until January 3, 2020.
MORE: Canfor Curtailing Operations at B.C. Sawmills (November 26, 2019)