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Section 5 - Taking It All Away - Communities on Haida Gwaii say Enough is Enough

Cover | Introduction | Goodbye Wood, Goodbye Jobs | Where the Cut Goes
Lower the Cut - Retain the Jobs | Redesigning the Status Quo
Untenable Tenure | Hitting the Wall
Islands Community Stability Initiative

In its socio-economic analysis of the Queen Charlotte TSA, the Ministry of Forests estimates that logging, forestry manufacturing, construction and transportation related to forestry account for approximately 31 percent of on-Island employment. But as shown above, the biggest social and economic benefits, by far, flow to off-Island companies and their employees.

The objective of many Islanders is to reverse that picture by retaining more timber for processing at the local level. This would allow the AAC to be lowered while creating more local jobs. Today in coastal British Columbia it takes a thousand cubic metres of wood to generate 1.37 full-time jobs. This equation can be further broken down as follows. For every thousand cubic metres, 0.41 logging jobs are created; 0.4 sawmilling jobs; 0.07 plywood mill jobs; 0.45 pulp and paper jobs; and 0.04 shake and shingle jobs.

The important thing to note about these numbers is that they do not include so-called "value-added" or remanufacturing jobs (i.e. furniture componentry, musical instruments). This is relevant for two reasons. First, most Islanders don't want a pulp mill. Second, the volume of wood required to sustain one job in a sawmill can then be re-run through a value-added mill where it generates more than four times the number of jobs.

Let's assume for the moment that every tree logged on Haida Gwaii was processed on the Islands. Let's assume also that the residents of Haida Gwaii could match the average employment figure for the coast and generate 1.37 full-time jobs for every thousand cubic metres logged - a not unrealistic assumption, given that British Columbia falls well short of other jurisdictions in generating jobs from its forests.

How much could Island residents allow the AAC of the four major companies to drop and still hang on to 427 jobs? The answer: the cut could be reduced 82.5 percent.

In other words, their billed volume could fall from 1.78 million cubic metres a year to 311,678 cubic metres, and there would still be as many jobs in the local forest industry as there are today. Granted, people wouldn't be working in the same jobs as they are now. But they would be gainfully employed in a forest industry with far brighter prospects for sustainability than the status quo.
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