Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Coast Forest Products Association's position on the Forest Centre

These are the speaking notes from last night's meeting for Rick Jeffery, President and CEO, Coast Forest Products Association

“Philanthropy isn’t just for today.  It is for today, tomorrow and for years to come.”

Good evening it is my pleasure to be here tonight.

My name is Rick Jeffery, and I am President of Coast Forest Products Association.
I am here representing 20 forestry companies which produce logs, lumber and pulp and paper on our coast.  38,000 people living in Vancouver and coastal communities throughout BC rely on the health of our industry for their jobs and livelihoods. 

I would like to thank the 3 previous speakers: Michael Kluckner, Roy Forster and Henry Hawthorne, an interesting and knowledgeable group.  Also thank you to Janet Leduc and her team for putting together this event tonight. 

When I think of philanthropy, I realize that it is something that isn’t just for today.  It is for today, tomorrow and for years to come.

The coast forest sector has a long history of philanthropy that has helped build coastal communities throughout BC including Vancouver.  As you may be aware there are a number of iconic and significant public buildings and art works around Vancouver which are gifts from our industry.  I will list a few tonight:

·      •The Bloedel Conservatory
·     • Knife Edge two Piece that Henry Moore gifted with Bloedel Conservatory and situated on its plaza
·    •  VanDusen Botanical Garden, Original Buildings
·      •HR MacMillan Space Centre/Planetarium…and finally, the reason why we are here tonight,  
·      •MacMillian Bloedel Place “A Walk in the Forest” (at VanDusen Botanical Gardens). 

There are others to be sure but estimates are that just this list (above) would likely total $200 million dollars in replacement costs today.

As you can see, these are important to Vancouver and this legacy of giving is one that our industry is particularly proud of….. even though coast forestry has changed significantly with the times.  We are now much different than what we once were when these buildings were constructed.   

Today coast forestry is a modern sector.  We are focussed on sustainability and follow some of the strictest forest regulations in the world.  Over 17 million new trees are planted by our member companies on the BC coast alone.  200 million per year are planted in BC.  We are growing our markets both here at home as well as globally.  We are high tech., innovative and finding new uses for wood…Even in today’s Vancouver Sun, there was a story about how Vancouver architect, Michael Green will be speaking at the upcoming TED conference regarding constructing tall towers from wood - this concept came from right here in our city.   

As you can see we are both proud of our shared heritage with the City of Vancouver yet speak to you today as a new and modern industry.     

When Coast Forest was advised of this situation with the Forestry Education Centre recently we were shocked - especially after having just witnessed a similar threat to the Bloedel Conservatory a few years ago. We don’t like to see our gifts neglected and under the threat of being destroyed.  Clearly this sets a poor precedent for any potential future donors.

I am here tonight to advise you we will be writing a letter to the Park Board and City of Vancouver asking them to reconsider the demolition of MacMillan Bloedel Place. 

Please give our industry and the public time to look for solutions to prevent what would be a terrible loss to people in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.

I urge all of you here tonight to take the same action.

Thank you.   

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