The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) have raised concerns about the lack of progress on agreements between environmental groups and Northern Ontario's forestry sector.
The northeastern Ontario municipal group said the breakdown in talks has created more uncertainty for Ontario’s forestry sector and the provincial leadership is immediately needed.
“We continue to call on the premier or the ministers of northern development and mines or natural resources to show leadership and get the stakeholders to the table,” said Kapuskasing Mayor Al Spacek in a statement. “It is clear that this can’t work if it’s just the environmental groups and the industry. Municipalities, Aboriginal groups, workers and the province need to be part of the plan.
“The boreal forest is our home. It is also our livelihood. No one understands better the need for sustainable forest management and harvesting than we do. Without it, we live in a vast empty space, environmentally and economically.”
FONOM said since production levels in forestry are at their lowest levels since 1976, and the sector's recovery has been “timid.” Production peaked at 9.2 million cubic metres in 2006 before plunging to 2.8 million last year.
Spacek accused Queen's Park of avoiding a leadership role and waiting instead for the outcomes of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement negotiations, which have been stalled since May. “It’s time for political action,” said Spacek. “We believe a fully inclusive meeting, with the premier and or relevant ministers at the table, is the best way forward.”