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article imageNew Brunswick Ministry Cancels Forestry Meetings

By Bob Ewing     Mar 4, 2008 in Politics
New Brunswick's Ministry of Natural Resources has cancelled a series of meetings that were to be held across the province to discuss the future of the forestry industry. No reason for the cancellation has been given.
Another storm warning is flashing, New Brunswick is going to get more snow and some freezing rain just to make it more interesting; however, that is not the story that has people talking.
What is causing a stir is the cancellation of eight of the nine public meetings that were set up to discuss the forestry industry in New Brunswick.
According to a CBC story, the Department of Natural Resources has cancelled the meeting but has not offered an explanation as to why. In an information vacuum like this one, rumours circulate rapidly.
The purpose of the meeting was to talk about the results of a government-commissioned survey that was released on Feb. 26. The survey was mailed to 1,500 respondents, approximately 57 per cent of the respondents said the forest industry has too much control of forest management in the province.
Another 56 per cent also said the economic contributions of the forest industry do not outweigh environmental impacts while 58 per cent said the amount of timber cut in forests is too high.
In addition, 54 per cent of respondents said the current forestry practices in the province will have long-term negative effects on the environment.
The team that carried out the research received no explanation as to why the meetings have been cancelled.
"No reason whatsoever, which left us as the research team very surprised and actually wondering what was going on," Stephen Wyatt, a forestry professor at the University of Moncton.
New Brunswickers want more public consultation and are seeking to play a more important role in forestry decisions and policy in the province.
"It's a piece of research that we did, so if community groups are interested in having us give a presentation to them, we would entertain that possibility," Tom Beckley, another member of the survey's research team and a forestry professor at the University of New Brunswick, said.
The city of Fredericton was the site of the only meeting that was held.
New Brunswick’s forestry industry is experiencing hard times and people have lost their jobs. The concern for their future and the future of the industry that once employed them is widespread.
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