Editors note: This is an open letter to B.C.s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations that was copied to The Pioneer for publication.

Good Afternoon Minister:

I am a Forestry graduate of UBC since 1971 and have worked in the forest industry for over 35 years in various capacities, including marketing, in North America, Asia as well as Europe, New Zealand and Australia. I have also spent over seven years in forest engineering in both Coastal and Interior locations.

I have also been president of the BC Liberals in the East Kootenay for a couple of years and am still a supporter of most BC Liberal policies.

However, I have, over the last few years, seen a severe reduction in replanting of our forests thathave been subject todecimation due to the pine beetle infestation that has ravagedour province.I and many others are very,VERY concerned about this trend.

Yes, we need jobs to fund things.Yes, we need innovative solutions to systems. But given the growing timeframes from seedlings to mature and harvestable stems, thattakes many years.Many years are being wasted by our government everyyear we dont plant sustainable numbers of trees.

Where are we going when we decrease the budget for forestry andlands, etc., to show a balanced budget?This type of deferred maintenance is very poor planning for the industry and for the workers and for the communities. As I stated above, I and many others are getting very concerned.

My kids and my grandkids are, at this rate, going to see a long-term reduction in employment in the Interior.We as a province are going to see a reduction in revenues through taxation. And, down the road, we are going to see an increase in cost in real dollars for the delayed replanting of our forests.Please assure myself, Minister, assure foresters throughout the province, and assure the public that we have doubled the monies going towards reforestation within B.C. through the next 10 years.We cannot wait longer for this type of reclamation to occur.

David R Pacey

Radium Hot Springs