October 5, 2006
The Premier's Task Force on Forest Development has completed its report on Saskatchewan's forest industry.
Task Force Co-Chair and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan's Forestry Secretariat Eldon Lautermilch presented the report to Premier Lorne Calvert today in Prince Albert.
"Our government recognizes that it is vital to have a long term vision for Saskatchewan's forest industry, and I would like to thank the Task Force members who devoted many long hours in taking a big first step in developing a plan," Calvert said. "Our government will give the recommendations careful consideration as it works with communities and business to build an industry that will attract investment and create jobs."
"The report presents an alternative vision for a sustainable forest industry," Lautermilch said. "It is a vision shaped by the hard work of the Task Force members who represent a broad cross section of community, business and labour groups, as well as the many stakeholders we consulted during the course of the study."
The report makes several recommendations aimed at building an integrated and sustainable forest sector. Among them:
• the establishment of a Forest Sector Advisory Panel to oversee the delivery of the recommendations;
• the establishment of an agroforestry industry;
• support for bioenergy investments in the forest sector;
• creation of a forest cluster focused on an engineered wood product base; and
• soliciting and maintaining community and Aboriginal involvement in forest sector growth.
"There are clearly challenges facing the forest industry, not only in Saskatchewan but throughout North America," Lautermilch said. "However, the report is significant in that it recognizes that if we are going to compete globally, the province's industry must place greater emphasis on value-added products such as high quality paper or engineered wood products."
The Premier's Task Force on Forest Development was established on October 5th, 2005 to consider options for the Prince Albert pulp and paper mill and act as a communications link for community stakeholders.
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