And then there were none

Congratulations to Chris Galliazzo, who’s just been promoted to a new position with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development (we’ve given up on an acronym for that ministerial mouthful.)

In addition to her new job posting, it’s positive news that Galliazzo will continue to work for another branch of the ministry in the Lillooet office.

The bad news is that no one is replacing her in her former position with the Cascades Forest District. Our Forest District now has zero employees working in the Lillooet field office. We don’t expect things will ever go back to the halcyon days when 40 people worked in the local office. But c’mon, zero local employees for the entire Lillooet TSA (Timber Supply Area)? How is that justified or excused?

The Cascades Forest District covers a huge area, including Lillooet, Merritt, Princeton, Lower Nicola, Tulameen, Lytton, Gold Bridge, Seton Portage and Pavilion.

Why is there no local representative here from the forest district to work with logging companies, First Nations and communities, to be a point of contact and to take the pulse of what’s occurring in our local forest industry? What happened to the ministry’s commitment in 2002 that the there would be a minimum of five employees in the Lillooet field office?

Concerns about dwindling staff in Lillooet and the lack of a local Cacades presence have been voiced in the past.

In 2017, then-mayor Marg Lampman said she found it “obscene” that a professional forester drives three hours from Merritt to Lillooet, and then another two hours to the Gold Bridge area where logging is underway. By the time that RPF arrives at the logging show, he/she might have one hour to spend on site before turning around and heading back to Merritt. How is that efficient? How is that a wise use of taxpayers’ dollars?

When Lampman made the “obscene” comment, there was still one Cascades employee in the local office.

Now there are none.

W.F.

 

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