Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams. (Supplied by the City of Campbell River)
Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams is happy about the prospect of the forestry workers’ strike finally coming to an end.
Western Forest Products and the United Steelworkers Union have reached a tentative collective agreement.
Adams is hopeful that the USW members will ratify the deal, which would be the first step to them getting back to work.
He added that the city felt the ripple effect from a nearly eight-month-long strike, that involves 3,000 workers at Western’s sawmill and timberland operations.
“The impact on Campbell River has been somewhat cushioned by our diversification,” he said, “but businesses, service stations, small business and operators, where we are the central hub for the North Island, certainly have been impacted with business, and that even goes for restaurants and small coffee shops.”
Adams said a resolution will bring the confidence back into the consumer which then provides residual spending in the community and “keeps everybody gainfully employed.”
The city “really had to face the music 10, 12 years ago when the pulp mill and the sawmill shut down,” Adams said.
“It forced us to do that diversification of our economic base. I think the smaller communities to the north and west of us are more reliant on the forest sector than Campbell River is, but that doesn’t diminish the impact and the importance that it has for the city of Campbell River.”
With the strike possibly ending, Adams applauded groups led by Loonies for Loggers for their work in helping forestry families impacted by the strike.
“We hope that type of community spirit and community involvement continues as this job action hopefully finalizes but more importantly, some of the restructurings in the forest sector itself, to make it more of a sustainable, reliable industry going forward.”