Logging rally held in Merritt, B.C. over lack of government permits


A number of Merritt, B.C., mill workers lined a street on Friday, with serious concerns regarding provincial government permits. The issue is fibre supply at the local mill, as Aspen Planers said the mill had been idle since the beginning of December.It only reopened when a supply of logs from Northern Vancouver Island was sourced for processing, in early February.“They just don’t want to sign the permits. We’ve asked to talk to them and they won’t give us a reason why,” said Bryan Halford, Steelworkers Local 1-417’s union chair.“We know it could be due to Indigenous issues, but, all they have to do is come forward, talk to us and give us an answer.” Story continues below advertisement An Aspen Planer employee said if the mill were to shut down, it would have a lasting impact on the surrounding community.“It would be devastating for our community. I have been here for a long time; we have second, third generations of workers at the mill,” said Surinder Momrath, an Aspen Planers Mill manager Trending Now According to the union, cutting permits for the region are being delayed by the provincial government.  Permits that typically take 45 days to approve are now taking months.With no logs coming in, there is no work for the mill.The union and workers said without locally-acquired logs, 150 people would be directly affected by the shutdown of the mill.The B.C. government has responded to Global News’ requests for comment.“We always respect the right to peaceful protest,” B.C. Ministry of Forests staff said in an email.“Government is actively engaged with local First Nations and industry partners to find the best way forward with these cutting permits while addressing community concerns behind the permits. Story continues below advertisement “We are engaging local communities in an approach that is expected to provide greater long-term stability and collaborative decisions for the region.” 5:17 Trickle-down effect of mill closures &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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