FRBC Lite? Or gone completely? Forest Renewal BC’s programs won’t be reduced this year to pay for the Mid Coast agreement. But with reduced revenues how long can the corporation hold out?
FRBC Programs Spared This Year – The Future: FRBC Lite or Gone Completely?
The Forest Renewal BC board of directors has decided not to reduce its funding levels to this year’s programs in order to come up with $35-million to fund a Cabinet-ordered compensation program for communities affected by the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement announced in April. Instead the corporation will set aside the money from its fast-depleting continuity fund.
FRBC is already operating at $140 million deficit this year and with revenues as low as $150-million the corporation faces a severe spending reduction from its current $287-million level forecast this fiscal year. Very shortly FRBC will have spent its reserves forcing its spending in line with low revenues. At an income level of $150-million politicians and the FRBC board will have to begin questioning the practicality of keeping Forest Renewal as a separate agency to fund forestry.
The good news for silvicutural contractors is that the board refused to spread the Mid-Coast agreement’s job losses to other sectors by cutting back on its current programs which support workers across the province. About 500 forest industry jobs are expected to be lost because of the agreement. The WSCA estimated curtailing funding for enhanced forestry funding and related land-based programs would have displaced another 500 seasonal silvicullture workers.